I know that making a nationwide order to wear masks in public is not going to prevent all Waffle House shootings – no law yet created has been able to stop such an inevitability. But during times of uncertainty, we look to our leaders to tell us what we should do. And where are all of our agents of authority? Our president says to wear a mask, but he’s not wearing a mask. He says we should keep our distance, then he shakes everyone’s hand at the press conference. Mike Pence doesn’t wear a mask during a visit to the Mayo Clinic, but later says he regrets it. Cops are walking the streets all the time without masks. The people we usually look to for guidance are either being deliberately confusing or at best cavalier and reckless.

People are having to rethink every aspect of their lives right now. How do I make my six-year-old watch this video about math while also attending a Zoom call while also constantly refreshing Instacart to see if a delivery window has opened up for groceries? How do I navigate the unemployment benefits registration system when millions of others are all calling at the same time? How do I get from one place to another when even the thought of getting on a subway causes nervous collapse? We should help people out by establishing one certainty: when you go outside, you put on a mask.