A significant amount of controversy has surrounded masks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, almost a year into the pandemic, we need to address the major issues we are having in preventing the spread of COVID-19. The refusal to wear masks or wear them properly while in crowded public spaces is causing this pandemic to last much longer than it should.
According to the CDC, anyone over the age of two should wear a mask in a public space. This shouldn’t be a hard concept to understand when wearing a mask has been proven to slow the rate of infection.
However, even considering all of the research put into proving the effectiveness of masks, people still refuse to wear them. At this point, anyone who chooses to not wear a mask is blatantly ignoring the issues at hand.
The toll of the virus isn’t limited to the death count or the number of people impacted. Though those are the most obvious impacts, the adverse effects of quarantine weigh heavily on society as well. Because people continue to refuse to take action and prevent the spread of COVID-19 with masks, we have been in an almost year-long quarantine.
In order to look into just how much we have been impacted by quarantine, the CDC did a study on mental health, substance use and suicidal ideation during the pandemic.
According to the study, four times as many people struggled with depression in 2020 than in 2019. The CDC also found that reports of suicide ideation in the last 30 days had nearly doubled since 2018.
Though studies like these show the mental toll on people, there are still many people who refuse to accept that wearing a mask could help prevent not only the spread of the virus, but these secondary impacts as well.
Sheridan Leinbach, a first-year from Lansing, understands the importance of wearing masks.
“I’m strongly in support of wearing masks until the pandemic is over or even after the pandemic is over,” said Leinbach. “They reduce the spread of the virus, and they’re just kind of showing that you care for yourself and that you care for others.”
Leinbach acknowledges how easy it is to wear a mask and agrees that masks should be worn any time that people are in a public place. The CDC actually had to provide more in-depth instructions on how to wear a mask properly, which included pictures telling people not to wear their masks on places like their necks, foreheads or even arms instead of their mouth and nose.
Leinbach also said that she wears masks when walking alone in case she encounters others.
“I think if you’re walking alone, it’s fine to take it off,” said Leinbach. “I just think it’s more difficult on the campus, especially with how small it is. You’re kind of always near people.”
This is interesting, because most people wouldn’t wear a mask in that situation. While I personally don’t wear a mask while walking alone, I do carry it with me in case I run into someone. However, with the amount of people I have noticed walking either without a mask or wearing one improperly, it seems most people don’t even think to do that. Because of instances like these, this pandemic has truly shown to me the pure ignorance of our society and just how few people care about others.
While you may be alone when you begin walking, there is a chance that others could come up to you. For that reason, it is important to have a mask with you. It isn’t hard to wear a mask, and wearing a mask shows that you care for yourself and others.
When it comes down to it: Just put on your mask when you are in public and around people to keep yourselves and others safe. It’s really quite simple.