Five months into my generations most notable and still ongoing pandemic, American tempers are similar to those of a never-ending family gathering of whom you simply don’t like that much. Ongoing debates regarding the accessibility of small and large businesses, or more specifically, should these businesses be allowed to refuse business have rules requiring facial coverings? Let me put it this way, if someone presented a question regarding an aspect of medicine which you are not familiar with and the prize was life or death, BUT were allowed to listen to the opinions of doctors…would you value scientific evidence or would you decide to “wing it”? The previous hypothetical scenario is something each person reading this is able to either walk outside and observe firsthand or scroll along social media and read about. Those who refuse to wear facial coverings in public places argue that such a request is either uncomfortable, a violation of their rights, “fake news”, or even “not the American way”. Although this is indeed America where freedom is a highly valued privilege, the fact of the matter is that more new daily cases of COVID-19 are present in the United States than any other country in the world. Why? Because of the reasons or rather excuses that are given by those who refuse to do their part in society. I understand…kind of. I understand that a mask is uncomfortable in the summer heat. I understand that is technically isn’t illegal to not wear one. However, I still choose to wear one because I value scientific evidence and want my choice to my own hypothetical question to represent life, not death.
One category of evidence comes from laboratory studies of respiratory droplets and the ability of various masks to block them. An experiment conducted by Dr. Philip Anfinrud, utilizes high-speed video, discovered hundreds of droplets ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers were generated when saying a simple phrase, but that nearly all these droplets were blocked when the mouth was covered by a damp washcloth. This experiment is important because it serves as a reminder that just because something isn’t visible, it doesn’t mean it isn’t present. Surely, if a COVID-19 carrier possessed a six-foot luminous bubble around their body, people would avoid them, however viruses do not operate that way. Instead, necessary precautionary measures are created in order for our daily lives to undergo normal operation as smoothly as possible…if rules and regulations are followed.
To grasp the full understanding of what is occurring around the country, society relies heavily on social media for updates on the status of current events such as Coronavirus. Every day as new COVID are born like mitosis, so do the posts of unmasked Americans on social media platforms. For example, in the recent week, a video of an interaction between a middle-aged man and an elderly woman went viral on all platforms. The bare faced man was recorded confronting the elderly woman (wearing a mask) who had asked the man to put on a mask when in a large shopping center. The man reacted by aggressively yelling “I feel threatened!”, enough to cause a commotion and have those standing by begin recording. Understanding that this reaction was completely unnecessary and wrong, the results of the man’s actions were said to have cost him his job. While maintaining the most non-pessimistic manner possible, these events are critical towards progression in combatting this global virus. Without seeing the reactions of some unmasked extremists, those who might currently possess the perspective of masks being unnecessary are subject to a hopeful wake up call.
The main takeaway from this piece is that yes, these new adaptations which our society and all cultures have had to undergo are unfortunate, and yes, they do suck! However, adapting to challenges is correlated with human evolution. In order to survive, we must adapt. Most importantly, we, as humans, are all in this together. While the younger generations may be less susceptible to more severe health consequences, older ones are not. For those who argue that masks should not and cannot be enforced and this is an act that is non representative of the American way, I would like to remind those of a famous piece of literature. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is very difficult to argue endowed unalienable rights of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness to every man and woman in this nation considering that is a direct extracted quote from the Declaration of Independence. Please do not be selfish and love your brothers and sisters as you would love those in your own household. Wear a mask.
(Please listen to the podcast episode I have created in order to hear the perspectives that myself and the guests on my podcast episode discuss.)