Student Opinion: Wear A Mask And Speak Your Voice

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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.

For instance, North Dakota and South Dakota are much more lenient about wearing a mask as their governments trivialize the threat of coronavirus as less than severe. 

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 Rallywhere 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.


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11 thoughts on “Student Opinion: Wear A Mask And Speak Your Voice”

  1. Alan Miller

    When a mask is worn properly, it stands a great chance of saving your life

    This sentence is misleading.  More correctly:

    if everyone else in your space is wearing their masks correctly, it stands a great chance of saving your life. 

    This is about other people’s masks saving you, and your mask saving them.  It’s a collective need for all to participate in order to work.  Watching videos of non-masking situations, it’s clear people can’t get past the idea that their mask is saving them. In reality, your mask is doing little for you, and everyone else is the threat, be they not wearing a mask, wearing the wrong mask, or wearing their masks improperly.

    Video after video show unmasked people near masked people, and the masked people just sitting there next to the unmasked plague, or video-taping (much more important than getting away from the unmasked plague).  What kind of uneducated, moronic imbeciles are we as a people?  Someone is not wearing a mask in an enclosed space, I am oughta there!

    1. Bill Marshall

      And Alan, “great chance of saving your life” is an overstatement, big time… it should have been “great chance of not being exposed (where, if you are asymptomatic, you can be a ‘carrier’), or contracting Covid 19″… the mortality rates, even if you contract Covid are somewhat higher than regular flu (yet, about the same for those already at mortality risk of flu), but far less than pneumonic plague… so, common sense is ‘don’t take the risk’… but masking, is not a way to guarantee you will not fall ill or die.

  2. Bill Marshall

    I affirm Alan, big time… the mask does not protect you, it protects others (unless you have a full respirator, and even then…)… so, for you to be protected, everyone around you needs to wear masks (except within your residence, family/roommates), and for ‘insurance’, ALSO do the social distancing… that’s why he and others (including me) insist that everyone follow the guidelines/recommendations… consider it as another form of “herd immunity”.

    Alan and I have disagreed as to level of caution, chastising me for travelling to Colorado earlier this year… but when I did so, I masked, did social distancing (except with immediate family), and guess what?  Since everyone else in the airplane had to mask (and center seats were left open), and about 90% of those in the airport wore masks, I felt secure.  And 2 months later, when tested, I was “negative” (i.e., not “positive” as of the moment of the testing).

    If you are wearing your mask, question those about you why they aren’t… firm tone of voice… you need not carry a frozen fish around to demand compliance, but you might be able to guilt/shame them… but insist that the rules are for all to mask, and then social distance as well… mask is primary, distancing secondary…

    But the key is for all present to mask, particularly indoors, and if outdoor proximity is more than a second or three, there, as well…

  3. Alan Miller

    mask is primary, distancing secondary…

    I think it’s the other way around

    But the key is for all present to mask, particularly indoors, and if outdoor proximity is more than a second or three, there, as well…

    Outdoor I’m not so concerned about masks, but I do my best to keep 10′ or more.  It’s sometimes difficult when others come closer, out of habit, and it feels ‘rude’ to back away.  We are such odd social creatures.  And yes, particularly indoors.

    You can de-energize of the Colorado thing.  I have friends who are traveling now, and I think they are bat sh*t crazy to get on a plane, but they do.  I question them, but don’t shame them.  It wasn’t personal.

    1. Bill Marshall

      Alan… it has already been scientifically established, that unless distancing is 20 feet (recorded in tests at up to 16 feet), aerosols can go far beyond 6 feet by a ‘good sneeze’… that’s the science… instead of 6 feet, I think it should be at least 2 meters… a bit of a ‘margin’… so, I stand by my assertion… cool, if you disagree, but I’ll go by science…

  4. Tia Will

    I want to thank Xin Ye for writing this article. I think it is important to get information out in a voice many college students and other young people may listen to. I also want to thank Alan and Bill for attempting to provide more accurate and detailed information.

    Now I will add my voice as an individual who follows this issue closely and who worked in front line medicine through 4 epidemics.

    First, there is no absolute safety. When we talk about how to prevent viral spread, we are talking about risk reduction, not 100% efficacy.

    So first we need to consider the venue. The volume of distribution of virus matters. Outdoors is safer than indoors. Indoor facilities with good ventilation are safer than those lacking.

    As for mask safety. Your own mask does not protect you, the wearer. It protects those who come in close proximity. But everyone does not have to be masked to provide an increased measure of safety.  It is estimated that safety increases with the number of people who are wearing masks with about 70-80% being the floor at which additional safety is conferred.

    The same principle applies to distancing. A greater distance confers greater safety, but a distance of six feet is certainly better than no distancing.

    Probably the most important thing to bear in mind about this virus is our experience with it is relatively new. What may appear to some to be contradictory advice ( or worse experts not knowing what they are doing) is due to the rapidly changing advice based on new information. I recommend people listen to experts and keep an open mind remembering always that people of opposing political views are not the enemy, the virus is.

     

    1. Alan Miller

      everyone does not have to be masked to provide an increased measure of safety. It is estimated that safety increases with the number of people who are wearing masks with about 70-80% . . .

      Except for one thing – the idiot not wearing a mask is doing so everywhere and is being careless throughout their life, so they are the most likely person in the room to be infectious.  It’s like going to bar and picking up a drunk who sleeps around, because only 1 in 100 people have a venereal disease, forgetting that the odds are much higher that person you picked up at the bar who is sleeping around has a venereal disease, whereas that person who doesn’t sleep around isn’t going to sleep with you, nor is grandma/grandpa, but the odds of them having venereal disease are much lower.  So no, I consider that person screaming in the Safeway about their right not to wear a mask to be Typhoid Mary.

      is due to the rapidly changing advice based on new information.

      And politics . . . let’s not forget the original mandate not to wear masks though they knew better, political pressure by businesses, national election politics, etc.

      keep an open mind remembering always that people of opposing political views are not the enemy, the virus is.

      Amen Amen Amen . . . but I’d amend the amen to – the enemy is the virus and — stupid people.

  5. John Hobbs

    “people of opposing political views are not the enemy, the virus is.”

    Stupidity, superstition and blind ambition are the enemy. A certain political party seems to have become the principal purveyor of those values. The [edited: president] owns the US failure in containing the virus and he and his minions should be excoriated by all people of reason and good will.

  6. Tia Will

    “Stupidity, superstition and blind ambition are the enemy”

    I believe this statement to be true.
    On the basis of John’s comment, I will make an addendum. My comment was limited to people of good faith, doing their best to handle an unprecedented situation ( during most of our lifetimes) but coming from different political perspectives. I always consider deliberate lies created and repeated for any personal advantage, to be the enemy.

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