The coronavirus is not going away, and the United States certainly is not an exception. Florida has reported the highest number of new cases in a single day by any state since the pandemic began, passing even New York at its peak. California is going through a reclosure of businesses. Many other states are also still experiencing a rise in cases, with only very few on track to contain the virus. Some have spoken about the spike in cases across the country as if it is the second wave. The truth is, we never got past the first. And we’re still on this face mask debate.
There are a million reasons why the United States has been struggling to contain the coronavirus. Many states reopened businesses too quickly, or had a relaxed approach to the closures in the first place. There is also the increasing number of people foregoing social distancing guidelines, and in big ways. Across the country there are countless videos and pictures of large crowds at beaches, bars, and restaurants. Finally, one of the most frustrating things to come out of this pandemic in the United States is the refusal to wear a mask.
The most common argument against wearing a mask is the idea that it intrudes on one’s freedom. Others have cited medical conditions, with some going as far to produce fraudulent face mask exemption cards. With so much information working against them, anti-maskers continue to argue freedom of choice. Countless videos have gone viral showing their attempted rebellions, causing scenes at businesses that refuse to serve them if they refuse to wear a mask. What this really feels like is not a fight for freedom but pure selfishness.
Early on in the pandemic there was plenty of anti-mask rhetoric. Honestly, with a lot of uncertainty at the beginning, ignorance and denial may have been a more understandable avenue. Today though, 4 months later with cases rising again, along with mounting evidence for the effectiveness of wearing a mask, and the debunking of the claims from those who are medically exempt, people are running out of excuses.
The Science Behind Face Masks
Transmission of the coronavirus is believed to occur mainly from respiratory droplets. There are countless sources explaining in detail on exactly why masks will help contain the virus but to sum it up, covering one’s face with a mask will block respiratory droplets, decreasing the probability of transmitting the disease. A common argument against this is that masks only work if someone is infected, but there is actually newer evidence that masks can help those that do not have the disease as well. It is also important to note that even though someone is not experiencing symptoms, they may still be infected and can pass it on to others.
Of course, wearing a mask isn’t ideal. Especially in the summer months it can be uncomfortable. Although all of that is true, there is no denying that the use of masks will do more good than bad. Mandatory face masks are not infringing on our freedom, they are a measure in place to look out for others. With so much evidence showing that widespread mask use will help contain the coronavirus, it seems like a no-brainer at this point. Listen to the experts, a minor inconvenience now is much better than a second lockdown.
Cover photo: Canva