Rant of the Week: Anti-Maskers

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Anti-maskers. It’s the term used to describe the absolutely lovely group of people that choose not to wear a mask in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite the overwhelming consensus among health officials that wearing masks helps slow the spread of the coronavirus, many decide to leave the house without one. As someone who works at a Wawa, I see them every day.

To not wear a mask in public is like giving a huge middle finger to the now 200,000 people that have died from the virus in the United States alone. 

It tells the old lady behind you in line at the supermarket that she can go ahead and die because of your own ignorance. It tells the immunocompromised cashier that rings up your groceries that their life does not matter more than the incredibly slight discomfort you experience while wearing a mask. Most of all, it tells the world that you are misinformed and that you don’t care for human life.

Wearing a mask is not difficult. I wore a mask for 40 hours a week over the summer at my job. You can certainly wear one for the 2 minutes it takes for you to come in, get your coffee, pay, and leave. 

Somehow, the issue of wearing masks has been politicized. There have even been anti-mask protests around the world. The sad truth is that we live in a world where people are protesting protective measures to stop people from dying. Human empathy has left these people. 

I think the best way to address anti-maskers is to refute some of their common arguments: 

You know masks don’t even work, right?

Wrong. Need evidence? Here is an article from the CDC that explains why masks are effective at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, with a list of references at the end that contains actual studies to further prove this effectiveness. Here is another article from the University of California San Francisco that explains masks in their simplest terms. Here is yet another one from the University of Maryland Medical System that debunks some common misconceptions about masks and their effectiveness. I could go on and on. 

People will often cite sources about influenza and try to pass it off like it is a source about the coronavirus in an attempt to downplay its severity. These two viruses undoubtedly share similarities, but they are still different from one another. This article from the CDC explains the differences between influenza and coronavirus, including that the coronavirus is more contagious than influenza

Ok, but you can still catch the coronavirus if you wear a mask.

Obviously. Nothing on this planet is ever 100%. However, the irrefutable evidence that wearing masks greatly slows the spread should be enough to get you to wear one. This article from the Reliant Medical Group explains that while masks do not make you immune, they do decrease the risk of spreading the virus. Besides social distancing, wearing masks is the best way we currently know how to control the spread of the virus. That much is irrefutable. Do your part. Or better yet: stay home. 

Forcing me to wear a mask is infringing upon my freedoms.

Which freedom does that infringe upon? Your freedom to spread a deadly virus? Just because you have the freedom to do something, does not mean you should do it. 

Why weren’t we told to wear masks from the start?

Maybe because this is a new strand of coronavirus that we once knew next to nothing about? Scientists and medical professionals are always learning new things about the virus and are constantly adapting accordingly. If a medical professional tells you to wear a mask, you wear one. They are the doctors; you aren’t. You do not know more than them about the coronavirus. 

If everyone else is wearing a mask, I don’t have to.

We have already established that masks are not foolproof. If you are not wearing a mask, you are putting other people at risk by increasing the number of droplets in the air and the risk of infecting other people. By wearing a mask, you are acting in the interest of public health and safety. You should also care about your own health more if you aren’t protecting yourself during a pandemic. 

Only six percent of coronavirus patients died from the virus.

This is a commonly misrepresented statistic. This article does a good job of debunking this misconstrued fact, but I will also try to explain it here. Obviously, most people that died from COVID-19 died had pre-existing conditions. This is not breaking news in itself because we have known that the elderly and the immunocompromised (the same ones with pre-existing conditions) are the target demographic for coronavirus deaths. The statistic states that six percent of coronavirus patients died from only COVID-19. Many of these pre-existing conditions were brought on and accelerated by coronavirus. Coronavirus complicates these pre-existing conditions and brings death onto these people more quickly. This does NOT mean that coronavirus did not play a role in the deaths of these people. COVID-19 is bringing death to people with pre-existing conditions prematurely. 

I cannot breathe with this stupid mask!

Yes, you can. Unless you have a serious medical condition that prevents you from wearing a mask, you can wear one. Masks do not lower your oxygen levels nor do they increase your carbon dioxide levels.

I only need to wear a mask if I feel sick.

Symptoms of COVID-19 may not show up for up to 14 days after you have been infected. You can have the virus inside of you and not know it until you have already spread it to other people because you weren’t wearing a mask. Also, asymptomatics exist. 

You’re just wearing a mask because the government told you to.

No. I wear a mask so I can prevent the spread of a virus that has killed almost 1 million people worldwide.

This is all just a conspiracy.

Again, 200,000 deaths in the United States alone. Do you still think it’s fake?

I am not wearing a mask because it makes me look stupid.

I can assure you that you look much more idiotic without a mask.

When is all of this B.S going to end?

As soon as you start wearing your mask. We could have had this under control months ago.

Also, the mask goes over your nose.