The War on Masks

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CC photo from Wipedia.com

Experts recommend wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The photo is available under a Creative Commons license for reuse.

Justice Petersen, IV Leader Editor

Ever since Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an order on May 1 that said everyone over the age of 2 must wear a mask if they go out into public areas, the subject of whether or not masks are effective has been a hot topic for debate.  

In these past few months there have been many people who don’t mind wearing a face covering while they are out in public. 

However, there are still many who refuse to wear a mask. This may be because they do not believe in the coronavirus, or because they know that many local businesses will not force customers to wear one upon entry. 

An article from Health.com lists other reasons as to why some would be against wearing a mask in public. The article says that two reasons could be denial and a sense of control for an individual.  

The article references Dr. Gayani DeSilva, MD, who says that, “Denial leads to avoidance, and then leads to not hearing the facts, which in turn leads to not following safe measures to prevent the thing they fear.”  

She goes on to explain that denial “is a vicious, unhealthy cycle, which ultimately contributes to the problem.” 

For whatever reasons and beliefs an individual may have, there are simply too many people going out and refusing to wear a mask. If an individual is afraid of the coronavirus or feels as though they have no control over the situation and believes that not conforming to the mask rule gives them a sense of power, the better alternative would be to wear a mask anywaysso that you may have control in how you protect yourself and others. 

Furthermore, wearing a mask is not so much for your sake as it is for others.  

The CDC explicitly says that masks are worn so an individual who may be a potential carrier of the coronavirus cannot give the virus to others.  

“Wearing a mask will help protect people around you, including those at higher risk of severe illness of COVID-19 and workers who frequently come into close contact with other people,” says the CDC. 

Essentially, the mask isn’t about protecting you. You wear it so that you may protect your friends, your family, your coworkers, and the elderly. And truthfully, if a person tests positive for COVID-19 and then proceeds to spread it to others, they could potentially give it to someone who is at a very high risk and could even die from the coronavirus. 

To put it simply – wear a mask to save lives.  

Additionally, we can be honest. Wearing a mask isn’t fun. They can be uncomfortable, you can’t breathe, and it must be annoying when you walk all the way up to the grocery store only to realize that your forgot it in your car (and you didn’t get the spot closest to the door this time).  

However, one must put themselves in somebody else’s shoes for a moment. Think of all the essential workers who must wear a mask for the entirety of their 8-hour shift, every day, 5 days a week. Surely wearing a face covering for the hour you buy groceries isn’t so bad. 

The fact of the matter is that COVID-19 will only go away if everyone does their part. And the face masks only work if you wear them. If scientists and health officials are telling people that face coverings and social distancing should be mandated, then you should listen so that you may protect the people you love most.

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