Masking the issue

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, some people still refuse to wear a mask


Leading epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci along with public health officials have unanimously agreed that wearing a mask in public will help slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep individuals at risk safe. This advice is largely universal with countries all over the world battling to slow the spread of this unprecedented virus. Yet here in the United States the debate over wearing a mask has become a politicized issue as many see it as an affront to their personal freedom.

President Trump himself has repeatedly criticized Joe Biden and other Democrats for their use of a mask in public and their strict rules for reopening their states amid rising concern of COVID-19 cases spiking. Trump has since held rallies and traveled through various states and functions with no mask in sight and many of his supporters echo his sentiments on the matter. Several of Trump’s tweets have been flagged by Twitter for violating their rules around spreading misleading and potentially harmful information surrounding COVID-19 and a recent influx of cases amidst the President’s inner circle threatens their previous beliefs. 

Research has shown that wearing masks limits the spread of the virus substantially. CDC Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield has stated “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.” The use of masks prevents the spray of droplets from talking, sneezing, coughing and loud exclamations from infecting those around you. Yet factions of citizens remain adamant that they are exempt from these guidelines. 

The fact of the matter remains that over two hundred thousand American citizens have died of complications surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Some of those deaths may have been preventable if more people followed CDC mandated directions. These controversial views surrounding the use of masks in public are reminiscent of a leadership that often chooses to ignore science in the wake of personal interests. 

No mask advocate groups have been popping up all over the country with a plethora of reasons as to why masks are a violation of their personal liberties. Reopen NC, a group that rejects the idea of a state-wide shutdown has started a “burn your mask challenge.” Leader and Co-founder Ashley Smith wrote on their Facebook: I can’t think a more poignant way to say we’re going to resist the muzzle than to just light one on fire.” In Palm Beach, Florida local leader’s called a meeting to discuss the mask mandate and several people spoke up against the new law. One individual claimed masks “throw God’s wonderful breathing system out the door.” Others announced their conspiracy theories surrounding a “plandemic,” a theory put forward by Dr. Judy Mikovits, a former research scientist who blames the influx of COVID-19 on big pharmaceutical companies. 

The disparity between fact and fiction is fueled by a leadership that has continued to deny scientific evidence and has fueled tension and mistrust among American citizens for political gain. The mask mandate is meant to protect citizens at risk and attempt to diminish the spread of the virus in the country. Instead, it’s become fuel for the Trump campaign to play on the fears of limiting personal freedom and rights during such a volatile time in our history. 


Email Chloe at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @Chloelindahl1

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