You Really Should be Wearing a Damn Mask, and I’m Going to Try and Explain Why!

It seems so long ago that the first COVID-19 case entered the United States in Seattle. It was broadcasted on every news channel for weeks. Looking back, it was inevitable that it would spread across the U.S. We (most of us) entered full fledged panic mode as we swiftly cancelled our travel plans, returned to our safe havens and stocked up on Lysol, groceries, hand sanitizers and… toilet paper 

The most alarming aspect of COVID-19 is the fact that it has stumped medical experts across the globe. We seem to learn new symptoms and trends about the virus every few weeks. While the Central for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has solidified a solid list of symptoms to begin your diagnosis of the virus, there seem to be several more to consider every month. Unlike other viruses, COVID-19 doesn’t necessarily strike only once. There have been numerous stories reported of victims being infected with this virus more than once.

I do suffer from a bit of anxiety myself, which can almost guarantee that I would be a (self-proclaimed) hypochondriac. Hypochondriacs around the world unite as we stress over our melodramatic symptoms. I regretfully admit to believing, at one point or another, that I was experiencing mild symptoms of the Coronavirus, such as shortness of breath, after an anxiety-inducing news briefing about how the world is coming to an end.

This pandemic has tested the world in insurmountable ways. Some tried to remain optimistic, choosing to view quarantine as a blessing in disguise; a snow day, if you will. In school, we looked forward to snow days so we could savor a break in between a hectic school semester. You know, a regular snow day with…. an infectious respiratory illness threatening the lives of anyone, sparse grocery aisles, a recession and dumb politicians, as opposed to sledding and snowball fights…The point is that most of us have never lived through a pandemic before, so we don’t really have anything to compare this to. We are collectively shook. 

However, I think we can collectively agree that people are stupid. If you suffer from chronic stupidity, these trying times will not serve you well. If you do believe to be a victim of stupidity, repeat after me: Wearing masks should not be political. I am going to explain why.

The United States should consider implementing a standardized academic curriculum nation wide, or at the very least, state-wide uniformity because it is shocking how many Americans value their own mediocre opinions over science. Yes, I should listen to the opinion of a ravenous “Karen” who doesn’t believe in vaccinating her kids and rubs essential oils on a broken leg because Facebook informed her to do so.

There isn’t anything wrong with science. It’s an imperative concept that allows us, as humans, to function in our daily life. Science is involved in cooking, gardening, the weather, using technology and beauty. In case you forgot, there is some chemistry involved in formulating your hair and skincare products. Never mind that science is the very focal foundation of the medical field, and is relied upon in every country in the world to remedy humans of their ailments or even, cosmetic procedures… But no, let’s dismiss science. 

It’s especially frustrating now that travel bans have been enforce upon American travelers around the globe, even Canada! Oh, how the tables have turned. I don’t dispute the world refusing to welcome American tourists right now. The United States has racked up approximately 3.5 million cases of COVID-19, reporting about 140,000 deaths (at the time this blog was scripted). Countries such as New Zealand, Albania, Serbia, Fiji and Croatia are some countries who have proudly announced their eradication of the virus in their homeland. 

We can make light of the situation and joke about how dystopian and dire our situation is, but please remember that the death toll isn’t just a statistic. These are real people. Brothers, sisters, spouses, grandparents, mothers, fathers, boyfriends, girlfriends, doctors, nurses, caretakers, teachers, public defenders and friends. Families have been scarred for life. I can’t really convince someone to empathize with these families grieving over the loss of a loved one.  It sucks. 

Now, if you managed to endure the video posted above, you may have caught on to a few  other commonly referenced excuses for not wearing a mask. There are a few more that were never mentioned in the video, too!

One of the popular excuses for not wearing a mask is that it makes it difficult to breathe. Sure, wearing a mask will never be as freeing as not wearing a mask, but it is effective at reducing the transmission of the virus. Some even argue that they have a medical condition that prevents them from wearing a facial covering. Unfortunately, that is not a justifiable reason as there is not a true medical condition that would prevent someone from wearing a mask for a 30 minute grocery trip. Please remember that those who are immune compromised are considered the most at risk with COVID-19, so perhaps it is best to assume extra precautions to avoid infection and transmission, right? 

Face masks are becoming the newest trend, so hop on board. There are facial coverings made of a multitude of different materials and various different prints. Opt into a basic, standard disposable mask. Some masks even have clear, transparent blocks that display your mouth for those who rely on lip reading to communicate. Face shields should not be substituted for a face mask, but they can be used in partnership with a facial covering of sorts.

I also find that a lot of people relate wearing masks to ungodly behavior. How did wearing masks relate to religion? It’s a layered facial covering over the mouth and nose. Are you offended when your surgeon dawns a mask during your surgery? Are you offended when your nail technician wears a mask for sanitary purposes?

Americans’ favorite pastime is boasting about being the land of the free, having civil rights and ownership of their body, etc. While women are still combating government interjections of what to do with a woman’s reproductive rights, anti-maskers are enraged by the idea that our government should mandate the usage of a facial covering in public places. It’s a minor inconvenience for the safety and security of the country. Facial coverings are recommended for source control, which is just intended to form “a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the cloth face covering coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice” (CDC). 

The point of the matter is that “COVID-19 can be spread by people who do not have symptoms and do not know that they are infected. That’s why it’s important for everyone to wear cloth face coverings in public settings and practice social distancing” (CDC). You might also question why I am sourcing so much information from the CDC. Well, the CDC is a federal health institute responsible for investigating health threats and uncovering ways to educate and support the nation against them. It was established initially to limit the impact of malaria. Plus, they are the experts you should refer to about all things pertaining to the virus.

Let’s not politicize a pandemic and public health, people! We will overcome this virus only if we all ban together. The tension of our current healthcare and political climate is perfect ground for this virus to fester and spread. We cannot allow the divisiveness of a political party divide us.

 Did you know that New Zealand sports teams have returned to the field with a stadium full of fans? Yes! Because countries such as New Zealand, Vietnam, and Iceland have managed to completely suppress the virus without any new cases. It’s unfortunate considering the United States continues to a report record number of cases each day when the easiest way to reduce those number,s is to listen to public health experts. We can do better. It’s simple; please wear a mask. 

We are trekking through unprecedented territory. It is unsettling to know our medical experts and healthcare professionals are overwhelmed and uncertain about the future of this pandemic, but we need to support them. They are the heroes during this pandemic. Believe it or not, I have hope. The rest of the globe is overcoming the effects of the virus, emerging from the confines of quarantine and returning to a new normal. That can be us!
 
Be a leader in your community, and wear a mask. Develop wearing a mask as a new habit.
 

Sport a mask and post a selfie. Trust me, you look better with it on!

P.S. The cause for the month of August is Public Health. This post was incredibly fitting considering that the entire globe has braved a nation wide pandemic the past few months.

We have a few products in store that benefits organizations such as Starkey Hearing Foundation, Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center, UnitedPlantSavers, Clean the World and so many more. 

Thanks for reading. Pass this on to your peers, and let’s do what we can to stop the spread of the virus once and for all. 

Cheers,

Your local, average advocate

Sources

COVID-19: Considerations for Wearing Cloth Face Coverings. 28 June 2020, www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/cloth-face-cover-guidance.html.

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