Research Overwhelmingly Shows Benefits of Masks


Bay Area Residents outside protesting masks and overall pandemic.

Lolita Angelcheva, News Reporter

With COVID-19 still on the rise, face coverings have been mandated all around. However, this delicate time in history has brought out tensions between wearing masks. Some have resented the action while others promote it and outbreaks on social media have shown that there is much disagreement. Yet, Colorado Governor Jared Polis has sided with the policy, even extending the mask mandate this past weekend. This comes from the fact that cases are still rising and there is still a fear of contracting the virus. 


Throughout America, many businesses and public places have put up a mask mandate. From restaurants to churches, it is a requirement that you wear a mask. However, most places don’t look for removal, and customers are usually able to take the face-covering off and not convey any problem. “It boils my blood like [people who don’t wear masks are] the problem! This [pandemic] will never pass if we don’t follow the proper protocols.” Rangeview senior Nazreat Debre expresses. 


Even though the owner puts up a sign, it does not mean that it is a “requirement.” This is something that is seen all around the country, along with programs and groups of people who engage in this issue and call themselves, “anti-maskers.”


These groups of people and the overall minute amount of care begs the question: “Does America really care?” This question brings even more tension between citizens. 


“I think it’s one of those things that has become so controversial that there is no single opinion, it’s just blurry. There are a handful of people who fear it immensely, but there are also people who think they can get away with not wearing a mask in a restaurant and then yell at the workers who are doing their job and kicking them out,” Junior Jenna Meyer explains. 


Fake Exemption Card showcasing the risk of wearing a mask on the specific person.

If you search “anti-masker,” on Google, you get 815,000,000 results. There are videos, photos, articles, and much information about this specific group of people. One result from this simple Google search is “Freedom to Breathe Agency.” This “federal agency” is actually just a fake group of Facebook members who are the creators of the popular “mask exemption” card. This card states that the holder wearing a mask can result in a mental or physical risk. It is printable and has been used all around the country by people in public places.


But does a piece of cloth really help prevent the spread? According to multiple health officials and even the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it greatly helps. A study in the Health Affairs that surveyed 15 states along with the District of Columbia found that after 5 days of the mask mandate, the spread of the virus had slowed down by 0.9 percent. By three weeks, it was up to 2 percent. 


Another study actually involved a man who had tested positive for Coronavirus.

 The positively-tested man had traveled from China to Toronto, wearing a mask on the entire time of the flight. The 25 people sitting closest to him were all tested negative after the flight, even with their extremely close proximity. 


These studies and experiments are two of hundreds that have been done since the first American case of COVID-19. Scientists all around the country have been surveilling the statistics and trying to figure out how to reduce the risk of spread, which has been concluded to be wearing masks. 


There are many materials that can be used for masks. You can use a cloth mask, face shield, or even a bandana or cut up T-shirt. There are different options and ways to make yourself comfortable, you can even make your own mask. Junior Jenna Meyer has taken part in this and says, “You can make one that has the perfect fit where nothing stabs out. The one I made is perfect!”


American citizens have complete freedom and rights about what happens with their bodies. However, if you can prevent the spread of a worldwide pandemic by wearing a piece of cloth over your mouth and nose, you have to at least think about the positive. Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Dr. Linsey Marr vocalized and backed up this belief saying, Wearing a mask—the CDC  is now calling it a cloth covering to distinguish it from medical masks used by healthcare workers—reduces the amount of virus you might spread into the air and onto surfaces if you happen to be sick. This would help slow transmission.”