-- By Olivia Gathright
The NY Times article, "Your Relationship with Masks" covered a vast amount of information. Masks have recently been established as a form of protection against the COVID-19 virus that started in Wuhan, China (though other sources report the virus to have been in America amidst the outbreak). The virus can be contracted between coughing, sneezing, breathing if in close contact without masks on either party.
The virus can live on surfaces for at least three or so hours and with cross contamination; it's inevitable not to come into contact with it. For years China has been using masks to prevent the spread of sickness, why suddenly are we questioning the method and driving politics into all of this when health and well being should be the number one priority?
There was a video I came across of a girl who has asthma among other respiratory problems using a mask and testing the flow of her oxygen to see if it differs. It doesn't, and funny enough she calls out everyone else who has a healthy set of lungs to ask them if she can wear a mask, why can't they?
It's no doubt that wearing a mask is uncomfortable, you get sweaty and tired and can't wear make-up without smudging at least half of it - but what is more important in your eyes? The chance that you can prevent yourself from a currently incurable virus, or your ability to 'breathe' in a public space?
In contrast to that, and the information Donald Trump undermined the virus at the start, he's been asking the reporters interviewing him to take off their masks when addressing him. The President, demanding that a person with a duty to their own health take off the one thing that can protect them respiratory wise is astounding; not in the good way. It's barbaric, and a complete show of fragile dominance when it comes to asserting one's opinion.
If the President can't follow the order, neither will his followers. Paper, material masks and all the same have become political. The cult-like following of President Donald Trump has insisted to no longer treat this virus as a precautionary tale, but more-so a debate on whether or not they have to follow the mandate of mask wearing to protect themselves and their fellow man.
They call those who social distance and wear masks 'scared sheep' and 'snowflakes'. America, what is happening? Are we no longer an inclusive country that knows the bounds and dangers of pandemics after the AIDS pandemic? Or, did you not treat that seriously too, America?
There are families sending their children back to school, afraid and terrified that something is going to happen to their precious baby boy or girl. Mothers sent their little ones out to kindergarten for the first time, in the middle of a global pandemic. Will the teachers follow the mandated rules? Will the students keep their distance, and keep their masks?
America, wake up. The mandated mask wearing isn't just a fashion trend you can choose to follow or not. It's not a clue to let others know what political party you're in.
It's necessary, it's life or death. Why choose death instead of life? Why choose ignorant politics and racial slurs over staying safe for your family, friends, and those who service you in stores and restaurants on a day to day basis.
"You'll never understand until you're older," my baby boomer grandmother used to say. Masks are a political agenda - they're being used by the Conservative party to rebel because of a faulty ruling of our current leader.
They're being misled, the only difference is the consequences are deadly.