By Jay Timmons
What if God had whispered in his ear?
What if that very first person who was somehow infected with COVID-19 heard a message that if he (or she) wore a mask and stayed at least six feet away from other humans, he would be responsible for saving the lives of nearly one million people?
Would he have worn the mask? Or would there have been another voice also whispering to him that he could do whatever he wanted? That his life didn’t need to change. That it wasn’t his responsibility to protect others. That he didn’t need to trouble himself in order to save the world from ruin.
Today we know that this one person – one single person – has so far been responsible for infecting over 25 million people all around the world (that we know about). We don’t know if that one person – the first to be infected – is alive or dead, whether he ever showed signs of illness or not. But we do know that the virus, which jumped from an animal to this very first person and took hold in his body, has now killed at least 850,000 people, and severely and permanently disabled countless others. In just 8 months. And counting.
One person. The first. It could have been any one of us. If that one person had only known what he would be responsible for, how he would devastate the world and plunge it into darkness … would he have worn a mask?
What if the five people this man unknowingly infected during the first few days of the pandemic also heard that whisper from God? What if those five people knew what we know today – that if they wore a mask, they would instead be responsible for saving the lives of 850,000 people and the entire global economy from catastrophic meltdown?
If God whispered to you, would you listen? If He told you that by wearing a mask you would save hundreds of thousands of lives, preserve millions of jobs, keep hundreds of thousands of people from being evicted from their homes, and ensure millions of children would be able to attend school? Would you do it? Would you be a part of His plan to let the light overcome the darkness?
Because if you are infected with the virus – especially if you are asymptomatic and don’t know it – we now know from data that without wearing a protective mask you will pass it on to others. We know that within 8 months this invisible enemy that traveled on your breath into the lungs of another human – a family member, a friend, a fellow parishioner, a colleague, a neighbor – will incubate and replicate, and continue to be passed onto others. Over and over and over again. That single breath you exhale when you don’t even know that you are infected, over the course of 8 months, will infect 25 million other people and kill 850,000.
What if you were the first? What if you were Patient Zero? What if you were going to be responsible for all of these deaths … for the darkness? Would you listen to God if he whispers in your ear?
God has given us brains to learn and to grow. We now understand how the virus transmits. We now know that a mask can stop the transmission. We now know we can save lives, save jobs, save the economy, save businesses, and save schools.
God is whispering to all of us now through the knowledge we have gained in just a few short months. Wear a mask. Save lives. Save our economy. Save jobs and livelihoods. Save homes. Save schools. Be the light.
Or don’t. And 8 months from now, look back and think about how many people have died since you exhaled on August 30, 2020.
Jay Timmons is the former Chief of Staff to Governor George Allen and the former Executive Director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He now is President and CEO of the National Association of Manufacturers. He and his husband, Rick Olson, live in McLean with their three young children.