The Importance of Face Coverings in Public

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Cartoon by Aaliyah Bustamante

A cough can spread over six feet and cover three aisles of a grocery store in just a couple of minutes. That leaves plenty of time for you or whoever does your grocery shopping at home to walk through that cough and inhale the airborne germs, potentially exposing themselves to the coronavirus.

Despite these disturbing facts, many people are refusing to wear facemasks or not wearing them properly, like cutting holes in their facemasks so that they can smoke (which completely defeats the purpose of the mask).

It is highly argued and agreed upon that the United States cannot stay in a permanent shut down, but an effective way of reopening the country without risking lives still remains in question. A standard face and eye covering for those who are out and about should offer a comforting amount of protection.

Talk of reopening states and making everyone wear coverings over their mouth and nose begins to loom, but nothing is yet set in place. A second wave of cases could easily flare up. That is why it is important for everyone to be protected at least to a minimal extent (masks and gloves).

Wearing a mask in public may soon become a federal law. With a new coming federal law, rebellious behavior is inevitable. Uncooperating citizens protest that masks are uncomfortable, don’t protect the person wearing it completely and the law of wearing a mask infringes on their liberty and freedom.

The protection of fellow Americans is not an infringement of freedom. Arguments have risen that masks only protect other people, not the people wearing them. However, if that is the case, if everyone were to wear masks, nobody would be left unprotected.

A law ordering everyone to wear a mask would mean that everyone would have to wear a mask including those who ordered the law taking away their own “freedom.”

Wearing a mask during this time is important. Maybe even more so for those who have stronger immune systems and may not be able to tell if they have symptoms of COVID-19 right away. A mask would help to prevent exposing others to the virus.

Some people may think that they’ll be okay without a mask and that very well may be true. You don’t know if you already have the virus or if you are going to be exposed to someone who does. You may even exchange words with them or sit next to them. Wearing a mask would make your chances of catching the virus and exposing the people in your household to it to go down.

The contagiousness of COVID-19 is not entirely known and that makes it all the scarier. You don’t know if the next time you go to your local grocery store or to get take out from your favorite restaurant will expose you to the virus. A mask takes less than 10 seconds of your time to put on and could be your contribution to protect other people, including essential workers who risk their lives every day to serve their communities.

It is better to be protected and have peace of mind than to risk your health and the health of everyone else around you.