Not wearing a mask increases your risk of exposure to COVID-19. Yet, people are still reluctant to wear a mask in public. Amid this pandemic, a small piece of face-covering has impelled a nationwide argument about public health, civil liberties, and even personal freedom.
While many Americans diligently follow the local guidelines on mask mandates, many still refuse to wear a mask out of principle. In this article, we will discuss what keeps some of the population from wearing a face covering.
CDC Initial Guidelines:
In the early days of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) didn’t emphasize face mask mandates. In fact, CDC reportedly said, “healthy people do not require face masks while in public.” However, the advisory was later changed at the beginning of April 2020, when America started to experience a drastic rise in COVID-19 cases.
Image Source: YouGov.com
On April 3, 2020, the CDC issued another guideline and recommended that everyone wear a cloth face mask or covering when in public. This time, the CDC clearly said wearing a mask would reduce virus transmission. Naturally, there was some confusion because of these two statements by the CDC on face mask mandates. While publicly wearing a mask was not necessary for the months prior, it later became a mandate to help stop illness spread. This left many people unsure about the importance of mask mandates.
State Mask Mandates:
There were several instances when local guidelines did not mirror state mandates. While some local judges issued county-wide mask mandates, state governors announced an optional statewide order requiring all residents to wear face masks in public if they can’t adhere to social distancing.
To be clear, there are several rules on mask mandates in the United States of America. While the CDC recommends everyone wears a mask, local guidelines often exclude healthy kids under the age of two (2). Again, such differences in rules create more confusion, and some people refuse to put on a mask, saying their local guidelines do not mandate it.
Image Source: YouGov
In America, mask-wearing has also become a catalyst for political conflict in this election year. Clearly, Americans have different opinions when it comes to wearing a face-covering vs. not wearing one. After all, it is American heritage to self-determine life choices and determining what is appropriate for their unique circumstance.
Herd Immunity Talks:
There were a lot of discussions over herd immunity in our country. While scientifically questionable, many believed this approach would ultimately result in coronavirus disease immunity. Participating in dangerous activities, such as COVID-19 parties, individuals felt they would have the opportunity to contract the virus, develop immunity, and ultimately avoid future re-occurrence.
Lack of Medical Knowledge
While of no fault of their own, a significant amount of our population has no or minimal medical knowledge specific to public health. Our society has looked to social media as their source of reference and direction, which unfortunately lacks scientific instruction and precaution for disease exposure and transmission. Thus, not understanding the importance of masks or face covering.
Inexperience with Illness and Death
A majority of people who avoid masks are young adults in their 20s and 30s. Outside of the AIDS or SwineFlu epidemic, this generation of Americans grew up in a country free of chickenpox, rubella, and measles, which were mostly eradicated with vaccine development in the 1970s and 1980s. This population does not have experience or reference points for infectious diseases. Therefore, they do not easily recognize the importance of personal protective equipment, such as masks, for transmission mitigation within a pandemic.
Why Should You Wear A Mask?
Is it possible to live in a country that celebrates individuality, promotes civil liberties, and yet still come together to stop the spread of the Coronavirus disease? Absolutely! Educate yourself and others of the following:
- Wearing a mask can protect you from virus exposure and slow down the spread of disease.
- This is incredibly helpful when an individual is asymptomatic.
- Since the COVID-19 disease onset may take up to two weeks, every healthy and infected individual should wear a mask to limit the asymptomatic spread.
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