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Just Wear the Damned Mask

Baseless conspiracy theories and general stubbornness over masks give COVID-19 sustainable momentum

Just wear the damned mask. Please, just wear it. COVID-19 has ravaged the globe with millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths. Even though the medical and scientific communities have strongly urged the use of masks and face coverings when near others (along with other measures) as one of the best methods of prevention, a significant number of Americans continue to push back and offer a veritable cornucopia of excuses and conspiracy theories as to why their opposition is justified.

There is no way to precisely calculate exactly how much wearing a mask reduces one’s chances of catching or transmitting COVID-19, but scientific study after study shows that it dramatically contributes to prevention. With cases continuing to rise in this country, and around 150,000 dead here thus far with no cure or vaccine, any safe preventative measures should be taken seriously.

Unfortunately, there is a growing laundry list of excuses and conspiracy theories for the “anti-masker” crowd. Not surprisingly, none of them hold up to reason and fact, but that doesn’t stop them being peddled and keeping COVID firmly in the driver’s seat.

Mask requirements are a method the government is using to promote control over people: Is this were true, this would be the longest con in the history of cons. Masks were mandated for citizens in this country as far back as a century, during the flu pandemic of 1918. Additionally, masks for the current pandemic have been suggested, mandated and enforced around the world, including countries that have no love lost for the United States. The idea that there is a global or even national scheme to control people by the piddly act of enforcing mask wearing during a health crisis is laughable. To suggest this is believing such a scheme has been perpetuated around the globe with doctors, scientists and journalists all participating. On top of this, there have been no leaks or signs of evidence, which would be an astounding feat.

This isn’t to mention that our own president has pushed back strongly against mask mandates and suggestions until just recently. The word “sheep” has increasingly been thrown around by anti-maskers to describe the compliance of those willing to do their part. Perhaps they should be the ones examining themselves for signs of wool.

Wearing masks is unhealthy: The alarm has also been rung by some claiming masks is a detriment to the health of wearers. Naturally, there are some with severe medical conditions where that might be true, but in the vast majority of cases, it has emphatically been debunked. Wearing a mask has virtually no impact on a person’s oxygen level or consumption of carbon monoxide. Anyone continuing to push this narrative would be well served to remember that medical professionals have been wearing masks for significant portions of their workdays for over a century. We have yet to see them develop any impact from this practice.

Wearing a mask is an infringement on one’s liberties: This old chestnut… Some people cling to their “Constitutional rights” without actually knowing or understanding what they are. Somehow, conflating wearing a simple face covering in public for a typically short period of time has been elevated to the status of colonists dumping tea into Boston Harbor.

How have people arrived at being asked to wear a mask during a public health crisis as the stripping of their freedoms and liberties? Why start at that one request. On a daily basis we are asked to do things that contribute to the greater good and safety of others without batting an eyelash. We wear seat belts; abide by stop signs, speed limits and traffic lights; have to be 18 to buy a lottery ticket; get fined for littering and a million other things. However, masks are what have set some people off. Really? The ultimate infringement on liberties is getting so sick that you are hospitalized or even die in part because others can’t give up their selfish ways.

Ordinances that issue fines for those not wearing masks is a money grab: Some communities, especially those in more impacted areas, have started enforcing public mask compliance by issuing fines to violators. Once again, this has caused some to decry such efforts as illegal or a grab for money by the enforcing municipalities. However, if people are wearing their masks as requested, there should be no fines and no resulting additional revenue, so what’s the problem?

Once again, such ordinances are not dissimilar from those that are issued across the country for transgressions like jaywalking, littering, and smoking in no smoking areas, yet have been magnified in such a way to make it appear to be a function of the boogeyman. The time and stress of issuing a citation for someone so blatantly flaunting such an easy expectation is not going to make any community or department rich or happy.

Certain age groups have shown lower risk of contracting COVID and having more severe complications: COVID has shown to impact different groups of people in generally different patterns but that does not excuse everyone’s responsibility to do their best to end this epidemic. Even if you are comfortable that you are less likely to contract it, or have serious symptoms if you do, you can still have a huge impact on others by not protecting yourself. A person with a mild case, or even someone who is asymptomatic can still infect those they come in contact with. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t care if you put yourself in danger, at least have the civility to not make yourself part of the problem for others. This of course doesn’t only impact other people getting sick, but also the health care workers, who are simply being overwhelmed with patients at this point.

There is no legitimate or even rational reason to not wear a mask in public/crowded areas during this horrible time. They are definitely not the most comfortable items to wear but the good they do are worth the very minor inconvenience in the end. Americans may be proud of their freedom, but they should strive to be as equally protective of building and supporting strong communities.

The selfishness and the blatant ignorance must stop. When it comes to brass tacks, the issue is simply about civility and common sense. If you can’t bring yourself to have a little of both than this country has problems that will only continue worsening beyond COVID-19.

Written by

Dabbler in history & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about diversity, culture, sports and education.

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