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These past six months I have spent a lot of time observing the different ways people have responded to COVID-19, and I noticed that there are two kinds of people: those who care about the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, and those who simply do not.

Among those who don’t care are people who refuse to wear face masks.  Not only do they neglect to, but some reject the notion entirely.

But why? Wearing a mask seems like such an insignificant thing to have to get used to, right?

Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t see it that way.  These “anti-maskers” have a variety of reasons for not wearing a mask.  The arguments I have gleaned most often are all easily refutable.

  1. “I don’t care if I get it, my own health is up to me.”

While it’s true your health is ultimately up to you, COVID-19 is spreads easily.  If you contract it and continue to go out, you are putting others at risk, not just yourself.

  1. “Wearing a mask won’t even protect me.”

Again, only a small portion of this is true.  Face masks will not prevent the spread by 100%, and may not even protect you completely, but it will protect others from you.  Furthermore, if the people around you are also wearing masks, they are protecting you from themselves. Neat, now you’re all protected.

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  1. “Having to wear a mask impedes my First Amendment rights.”

No it doesn’t.  A mask mandate does not impede your freedom of speech, religion, press, or assembly.  Nothing about a mask mandate is inherently unconstitutional.

  1. “I can’t breathe with the mask on.”

In most cases, and situations, yes you can.  The masks are designed to allow breathing while preventing droplets from spreading.  They do not restrict oxygen. It may be uncomfortable, but it won’t suffocate you.

  1. “The coronavirus isn’t even bad. The media is blowing it out of proportion.”

This argument is dangerous.  While “the media” relies on garnering an audience, the numbers and information are handled by health officials.  It is objectively true that COVID-19 has killed thousands, over 200,000 in America alone. The World Health Organization were the ones that declared COVID-19 a pandemic, not CNN.

There are various conspiracy theories about the masks and COVID-19, but I don’t feel the need to argue against them.

It is sad that while thousands of people die in the country, there will always be some that refuse to do what is right.  I understand why people will be emotionally charged in a time like this, but it is important to recognize the objectives: we are in the midst of a pandemic, and for the greater good of our country, we must do what we can to prevent it.

Moral of the story: wear a mask.

Gabriel Henstrand is a senior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

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