By Xin Ye
The problem Americans are facing today is the controversy surrounding wearing face coverings during the Coronavirus pandemic.
When a mask is worn properly, it stands a great chance of saving your life, and if everyone united together, fewer innocent lives would be lost.
States like California require citizens to wear a mask or face covering when in public spaces to slow down the spread of the virus. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has also published a guide on how to properly use face coverings as they are proven as one of the best defenses against COVID-19.
Yet something that sounds so simple has triggered the individualism of anti-maskers.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Brookings city council’s proposal for mandatory face coverings inside businesses in South Dakota had left many citizens enraged. It was quickly shut down and not passed at all.
It is undeniable that it’s uncomfortable breathing into a face covering, and it can be inconvenient for some athletes. Especially for those who live paycheck to paycheck, buying a face mask may not be a top priority.
Some anti-maskers have also complained that wearing face coverings decreases oxygen intake (which has been scientifically proven wrong), using this as an excuse to describe their stolen freedom.
As for low-income civilians, money from the second stimulus check is available. Since so many Americans have already received their money, how much does it cost to purchase a couple of masks?
At the end of the day, these “reasons” for not wearing any face coverings are actually excuses; these are choices made by individuals themselves.
The Los Angeles Times also reported, “North Dakota and South Dakota rank first and second, respectively, in the U.S. in new cases per capita over the last two weeks based on research findings from John Hopkins University.”
After a brutal period of many people losing their jobs and more, the number of COVID-19 cases are still rising rapidly every day in the U.S. A big factor is the anti-maskers’ movement.
According to the CDC, there are over 6 million total cases, and over 190 thousand total deaths in the United States as of Sept. 18, 2020. Even though the numbers are astonishingly high and people are aware of how the virus can spread faster than one can imagine, not everyone is willing to collaborate and take proper preventative measures, such as social distancing, washing their hands frequently and wearing a mask.
Many scientists and health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have tried their best to warn people repetitively about the danger of COVID-19, specifically, focusing their attention on the importance of masks.
It is impossible not to mention the mass gatherings at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, where around 250 thousand selfish people wanting so-called “freedom” threw fear in the back of their minds during the 10-day event. Most people were not wearing any face coverings, and some bikers even wore clothing with anti-mask designs.
One of the bikers at the rally said, “I don’t want to die, but I don’t want to be cooped up all my life either.”
When the pandemic first started, masks were scarce. Not only was it impossible for civilians to purchase masks in supermarkets or online, but even hospital workers had to continually reuse their masks and tape their bodies with plastic bags.
Now, purchasing masks is not a problem anymore, so what is keeping anti-maskers from wearing them? If you are no longer alive, you no longer have a voice.
As many schools and universities reopened for Fall 2020, more mass gatherings have appeared. Institutions that have reopened have posted their coronavirus protocols to prevent students from catching the virus throughout the nation. However, some irresponsible young adults still gathered and attended parties.
Earlier this month, eleven students were dismissed from Northeastern University as they did not follow the coronavirus protocol.
Is wearing a mask that difficult to do? It turns out there are many factors as to why someone may choose not to wear one.
Seth J. Gillihan, a clinical assistant professor of psychology in the Psychiatry Department at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote in Psychology Today that people may view wearing a mask as being tied with political conflict –– the idea of “us-versus-them.”
Fear may also be a factor for those suffering with anxiety, as mandating masks may “trigger our fear that someone is trying to block our pursuit of happiness — either by not wearing a mask and threatening our life or by making us wear masks and taking away our liberty.”
It has also become dangerous to tell people to wear masks. In May, a security guard was shot dead by three family members at a Michigan Family Dollar store that required masks for those entering the store.
In July, the same situation happened as another security guard was shot dead after having several arguments with a customer because she was not wearing a face mask at a market in Southern California.
There are more cases where innocent people like the security guards have died because of anti-maskers’ “rights” to not wear a mask in public places. Even if people have the freedom to shop without face coverings, the extent anti-maskers are willing to push the limit is unhealthy and dangerous to all.
The choice lies in the freedom to wear a mask to protect both you and others’ health, and in the freedom to choose not to wear one and deal with the consequences later.
When that day comes, you will have no time to regret your actions, so do your part and wear face coverings.