Opinion: The Mask Debate During COVID-19

  Business people working during the pandemic, while social distancing and wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

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Business people working during the pandemic, while social distancing and wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

Madison Moon, Opinion Reporter

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused some significant change for our daily lives. Not only did it lead us into months of lockdown, social distancing, unemployment, it also increased the already existing political division of America. Not that I’ve experienced a pandemic until 6 months ago, but it seems as if America hasn’t necessarily conducted itself well. 

The mandatory mask law and the right for businesses to deny service if you choose to not participate seems rational to me. I do not see why there is an opposing side to something that is not completely avoidable and our options run slim until there is a vaccine. It also seems like a very simple request, and it gives us the opportunity to live partially ‘normal’ during the pandemic. 

A picture indicating the division between America regarding the face mask debate during the coronavirus. Photo courtesy of Pixabay. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Recent studies regarding wearing a mask have shown approximately 75% of Democrats wear masks, while Republicans were at about 53%. Republicans have also made their opinion known through their anti-mask protest that began in May. Not to mention, Donald Trump refuses to wear a mask himself, which encourages Republicans to be more reluctant.

“Honestly, I think it is your body your choice. I work in 108-degree heat everyday, wearing a mask isn’t the best for me,” said a senior at Rangeview who chose to remain anonymous in retaliation.

The Center of Disease Control (CDC) sided against face mask wearing and instead suggested taking precautions by washing your hands, avoiding big groups, and staying home if you’re feeling sick. However, later CDC states that face masks should be worn in public. An experiment made with high speed video was used to determine the amount of water droplets that are produced with just a phrase or sentence. The experiment showed that approximately 20-500 micrometers of water droplets were created, but almost all of the droplets were reduced when the mouth was covered with a wet cloth.  

Some studies have shown that masks can also potentially increase your risk of getting a virus. In 2015, research regarding hospital workers in Vietnam were roughly 13 times more likely to catch flu-like illnesses while wearing cloth masks. However, information on the CDC website later explained that not frequently washing masks or replacing them could have been the cause. 

“I agree with the face mask law, because it’s shown a decrease in the amount of cases and at this point if that’s what it takes to get back to normal, I’ll do it,” said Senior, Cassie Pearson. 

Health Affairs published a study that showed the growth rate of COVID before and after the face mask law. The first five days of the mandate showed that the daily growth rate decreased by 0.9%, after three weeks the percentage reduced by 2%. 

“I think that people who chose to not wear a mask don’t understand that it doesn’t matter if they aren’t being affected by it because they could be spreading it to people who will be affected by it. So they’re either uneducated or arrogant,” states Senior Raymond Favela. 

A man following the mandatory face mask law by bringing his mask to work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Pixabay. (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Many studies have shown that the use of masks helps the spread of COVID and has reduced the statistics overtime. It is also important to prioritize social distancing and wash your hands. Despite my research to better understand why there is an anti-mask side, I still do not understand the lack of participation. The law is there to protect each other, especially those with preexisting health issues and have a high chance of not fighting off the virus. 

The only way America will overcome the pandemic is if we wear masks and try our best to social distance until vaccines can be offered. It is important to understand the significance your participation has on the pandemic, do your part by wearing a mask and considering the health of those around you.