Keys? Check. Wallet? Check. For most of the world today, there is one more essential item they need before going out: a mask. However, the issue of wearing a mask has led to some conflict, especially in the United States.
Although there are many reasons as to why a person should wear a mask, there are still people asking “Why should I?”
For some, the confusion in the beginning may have deterred them from wearing masks. Initially, the CDC sent out conflicting guidelines, saying mask wearing was not necessary. They changed this message on April 3, when they said that it was important to wear a mask. These two different messages may have made people confused, and damaged the credibility of the guidelines. However, there are two reasons for these conflicting messages. One, the CDC wanted to preserve masks for those who really needed it- medical workers. At the start of the pandemic there was a shortage of masks and the CDC wanted to make sure that medical workers were able to get them. Now, more companies are producing masks in order to supply for the demand, and buying reusable masks means that you won’t need to buy any more. The danger of not having enough masks is much less than it was at the start, so the CDC didn’t need to worry about that anymore. The second reason is because of a lack of testing. The less testing there is, the less positive tests for COVID-19. The less positive tests, the lower the count is for the infected. Once testing was able to pick up, the CDC saw that there were more cases than they initially had found. With masks more readily available and a spike in cases, the CDC chose to change their guidelines. As of early August, the CDC has not changed their mind. Masks are important in preventing the spread. With no major change in 4 months, the public should be assured that wearing masks is an important part of keeping COVID-19 at bay and that the CDC is firm in their decision.
Others may be avid followers of influencers, celebrities, and leaders to the point where they follow what they do religiously. Some of these well known people may not believe in wearing masks, or even promote themselves not wearing one. It is important to realize that a vast majority of these people are not health professionals and do not always make the right decision in terms of health. Do research yourself and don’t always follow someone else’s example. It is important to be well informed and make decisions based on what you believe and have researched and not solely on what a single person says or does.
In the end, the most important thing to consider is why you should wear a mask. COVID-19, like any virus, multiplies in your body. This causes the virus to become suspended in body fluids in the lungs, mouth and nose. When a person coughs, they spew droplets containing the virus, and a single cough could produce 3,000 droplets. Even when talking you’re sending out droplets. So what? Maybe you’re not in the same room at the same time as a person and can avoid those droplets, right? Wrong. Larger droplets can collect on surfaces and smaller droplets can stay suspended in the air, with the virus surviving for 3 hours, perhaps longer if the conditions are right. By wearing a mask, you limit the amount of droplets you breathe in and therefore limit your chances of catching the virus.
You might be thinking, I’ll never catch the virus. I don’t have any medical problems, and I’m in the age group that doesn’t get affected. Even if I do get sick, I won’t have it bad. You could be right. You could also be wrong. Many young, healthy individuals are hit hard with the virus. Even if you don’t get sick, the problem is the people you interact with. You may be asymptomatic, and while being unaware of having the virus, you may pass it on to someone who is at a higher risk for it. Your parents, grandparents, even younger people who have a medical issue that you’re unaware of. You may be the reason why they get sick. And that’s what’s so dangerous about this virus. It can be hard to be sure who’s sick and who’s not sick. That’s why wearing a mask is so important. It limits your chances of passing the virus on to others, and others of passing the virus to you.
Many anti mask wearers believe that they have the freedom to not wear a mask. That’s technically true. However, in that same respect, a business has that same right to not allow a person into their store. You have the freedom to not wear a mask, a business has the freedom to not let you in. You cannot have it all, especially when your choice affects the safety of other people.
You don’t have to wear a mask for yourself. But you need to wear it for other people. Why do I, a teenage girl with no underlying health problems, wear a mask? So I can protect my family and friends from getting the virus. If you can’t do it for you, do it for them. Wear a mask.
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Buchwald, Elisabeth. “Why Do So Many Americans Refuse to Wear Face Masks? Politics Is Part of It - but Only Part.” MarketWatch, MarketWatch, 28 June 2020, www.marketwatch.com/story/why-do-so-many-americans-refuse-to-wear-face-masks-it-may-have-nothing-to-do-with-politics-2020-06-16.
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Gray, Richard. “Why We Should All Be Wearing Face Masks.” BBC Future, BBC, 1 July 2020, www.bbc.com/future/article/20200504-coronavirus-what-is-the-best-kind-of-face-mask.