Why Masking Should Be Here to Stay


Of all the lessons that have scared me during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that you don’t know who you will hurt or kill if you catch the virus and silently pass it on to someone else. I have medical professionals in my family who have been taking care of extremely sick patients who sometimes would end up on ventilators and pass away, the majority of them being unvaccinated.

I am pro-vaccine, pro-masking and consider myself pro-public health. I grew up receiving the round of required vaccines for going back to school like many other children across the US. I have learned to accept the choice people have to decide whether or not they will receive a vaccine (even though it affects my family members working in the medical field who will end up caring for them if they get horribly sick), but I find it hard to accept a person’s choice to not wear a mask in public spaces during a pandemic.

Consider the fact that other countries who have faced deadly viral outbreaks like the SARS epidemic in 2003-04, where approximately 8000 people died from 29 different countries [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7159403/ – Overview on SARS in Asia and the World], where wearing masks in public expected. Yes, eastern cultures are typically more community-oriented – and in the west, particularly the United States, we embrace individualism and certain personal freedoms – therein lies some of the reasons why there is tremendous public discourse over things like vaccine mandates and mask mandates. The personal choice we have to wear a mask (or not) during COVID-19 pandemic is different than other freedoms we embrace, because it is a choice that affects the personal safety and well-being of others (if the virus is passed on from one infected person to the other).

The recent ruling by Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle to toss out the federal mandate for wearing masks on airlines has been deeply disappointing, and has no basis in supporting public health measures. “When U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle tossed out the federal government’s transportation mask mandate on Monday, she relied in part on her interpretation of the term “sanitation.”” [(https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2022/04/19/1093641691/mask-mandate-judge-public-health-sanitation#:~:text=When%20U.S.%20District%20Judge%20Kathryn,of%20the%20term%20%22sanitation.%22)%5D. I am hoping to see this overturned or challenged in the court system as soon as possible, because not only have many of us been looking forward to traveling safely, but it still affects the immuno-compromised who cannot get vaccinated and have a significantly higher chance of getting sick and passing away. Wearing a mask is a personal choice, but it is one that affects people around us and should continue to be mandated in public areas by the government to protect the health and well-being of everyone.

About marymurray22

I live in South Minneapolis with my cat Milhouse, work full time in human services and am taking MDST 485 (Communicating with New Media) and PSYC 302 (Adult Development and Lifelong Learning) for the Spring 2022 at Metro State.

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