Aug 10

Seat Belts Matter. So Do Masks. Wear one! (published in OC Register)

According to the US Department of Transportation (DOT), seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 US lives in 2017.  This would not have been possible without laws proscribing their use. Yet, as apposed to the visceral responses we have seen against mask-wearing mandates, none of the more than 221 million licensed drivers in the U.S. are out in the streets or carrying guns to state legislatures protesting ‘buckling up for safety’!

As of now in the US, there have been over 150,000 Covid-related deaths. The CDC predicted today that there will be another 44,000 deaths this month alone. Another respected and historically accurate study predicts that if we continue on our current course, by November 1 (in 3 months), there will be an additional 82,000 deaths nationwide – but 32,000 can be prevented with a national mask mandate.  That is about twice the number of lives saved every year by seat belt laws.

I’ve been performing surgery for over 30 years on thousands of people and have worn a mask every time.  I have never seen a surgeon who refuses to wear a mask because it infringes on his or her personal freedom, and I wonder if any patients would go to such a surgeon.

Our legislators should see the obvious, follow the science and use their common sense – masks save lives and should be worn by everyone in public while this pandemic is raging. Educate our youth and young adults. To do otherwise is suicidal.


Richard Weiss, MD

Newport Beach, CA