By Natalie Luna
Science is the only thing that helps us comprehend and understand the inevitable changes in the way we see the world. However when science and the opinions of government officials, politicians, and citizens, are mixed, politics become a large part of the conversation. As Coronavirus cases spiked, the government passed mandatory guidelines to wear masks. Many people continue to react poorly to these rules.
Some people believe that wearing masks for long periods of time allows for excess amounts of carbon dioxide to enter the body, depriving it of proper levels of oxygen. Scientists proved that is not the case. As long as you wear a properly fitted mask, it offers adequate airflow while still covering your nose. According to Kelli Randell, a medical advisor at Aeroflow Healthcare, the prolonged use of any face mask, which includes the N95 respirator, has not been shown to cause carbon dioxide toxicity in people who are healthy.
Other people believe that wearing a mask is restricting our freedom as Americans to make our own decisions. However, taking precautions to keep everyone safe should not be a debate. Actually, wearing a mask helps us regain the freedom of making every public interaction much safer. The freedoms of being able to go back to work, attend school, interact with one another, and fight the virus all stem from wearing a mask..
Wearing a mask is more effective at getting us back to normal than not wearing a mask, especially since it could be difficult to tell who may have the virus. Wearing a mask will insure security, specifically among individuals with compromised health. They protect those who are nearby from particles that spread through coughs, sneezes, and even droplets that emerge when communicating with others. The freedom to make facial expressions is not more important than protecting people’s lives.
Some people worry that only N95 respirators are effective, so it’s not worth wearing anything else when they are not available. N95 masks are only necessary when involved in medical situations as surgical masks are generally known as being more protective than cloth ones. However, simple cloth masks are still more effective than no masks. According to the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Robert Redfield, the pandemic could be brought under control over the next four to eight weeks if “everybody could just wear their mask right now.”
Wearing masks not only reminds everyone to be cautious, but also to protect the vulnerable individuals around you. When we all commit to wearing one, we take part in protecting one another. In times like this, Americans should all come together as a community to support each other, while enabling one another to be safe. Just seeing people with them signals to others that you value other people’s lives and that you understand the importance of following healthy behaviors and guidelines in order to stay protected during this tough time.
Italy, China, and Australia, all countries that had cases spike early in the year, were more successful at reducing the spread of the virus than America because they took the virus seriously and acted responsibly by wearing face masks in public. They did not make wearing a mask into an intense political issue, and as a result, were allowed to reopen entirely.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 cases are still growing in the U.S. Social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands, and staying home are all a crucial practices of getting us through the pandemic. Many cities reopened too quickly which led to another shut down. The latest update from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests that over 33,000 deaths could be avoided by October 1 if 95 percent of people just wore masks in public.
If we took the CDC’s guidelines seriously the first time around, we could have already been operating more normally. We could have had Dodger baseball, schools could have opened for a nearly normal school year, football teams could have been preparing for practice, and thousands of Americans would not have lost their lives fighting the virus.