One of the biggest changes brought forth by the COVID-19 pandemic was the introduction of wearing face masks in public.
This change came from a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the safety of oneself and others. “Everyone 2 years of age and older should wear a mask in public settings and when they are around people who do not live in their household,” the CDC stated.
However, despite the CDC’s regulations, many people can still be seen in public facilities, with people who do not live in their home, without a face mask. This is extremely irresponsible because the virus can still be spread when people are asymptomatic.
Even if someone is not presenting with the symptoms of COVID-19, it does not mean they do not have it. “Masks are primarily intended to reduce the emission of virus-laden droplets (“source control”), which is especially relevant for asymptomatic or presymptomatic infected wearers who feel well and may be unaware of their infectiousness to others, and who are estimated to account for more than 50% of transmissions,” the CDC said.
If face masks are not to be worn to protect oneself, they should be worn to protect others. It is simply a matter of caring about others’ health because it has been scientifically proven that masks prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The argument that anti-maskers may make is the virus only detrimentally affects those with pre-existing health conditions and the elderly. This belief overlooks those with conditions and the elderly. It invalidates their right to live and be healthy. The Department of Health and Human Services concluded that 50 to 129 million people in the United States have pre-existing health conditions who are not elderly. This is a large portion of the population that can be extremely affected by the virus.
I have very strong feelings about this topic, as my mom has pre-existing health conditions. My mom has Prinzmetal’s Angina and arrhythmias (SVT and atrial tachycardia). She could be seriously affected by this virus since her heart is weak due to her conditions. A case of a respiratory virus would not be a good addition.
This pandemic and anti-maskers have greatly affected my life these past months. Every day, I put myself at risk going to school, cheering or simply going to the grocery store because of people who are not responsibly wearing a mask. I always take precautions for myself, but I can only do so much when other people do not care about my own health nor my family’s health.
Sometimes people can be asymptomatic for days or weeks before they know they have COVID-19. Living with the fear that I or my mom might have the virus is a scary thought to live with, because I care about her health and the rest of my family’s health.
I am not the only student at Pleasant Valley that lives with this fear. Senior Sid Sharma also has multiple family members that are at higher risk. His mom and dad are diabetic, and his grandma, who also lives with them, is at higher risk for the virus as she is elderly. “I am always thinking about my family because I don’t want to get them sick,” Sharma expressed. “I get uncomfortable when people in public don’t wear a mask.”
Ceely Patramanis, another senior, has also been affected by the virus and anti-maskers. “My grandpa passed away from COVID-19 in September and he only left the house for necessities, therefore limiting his exposure significantly,” Patramanis explained. “It took one unfortunate interaction to end his life.” Despite being cautious, the Patramanis family was also diagnosed with COVID-19 in mid-to-late November.
This virus affects everyone in different ways, but regardless, people must wear masks to protect other citizens who deserve the right to remain safe when going out into public. When around people that do not reside with oneself, people should wear masks to protect others even though it may only dramatically affect those at high-risk.
Wearing is caring. It is time to protect those who are at higher risk for this disease, they are important too and a large part of peoples’ lives all around.