Right now, we have the rare chance to decide what we want our future to look like. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic back in March 2020, waves of the virus have continued to take lives and infect thousands. The events, time, and lives we have lost are immeasurable at this point. The damage is already done, with more on the way if we fall asleep at the wheel and continue allowing the virus to spread. It leads one to wonder what we could have done to prevent this virus from happening at all. Well, we may not have been able to prevent the virus completely, but if we had listened to the mask mandate back in March of 2020, we certainly would still be here over a year later. With countless researchers and doctors across the globe providing evidence that masks do in fact reduce the spread of the virus, one would think that everyone was eager to wear masks and stop the virus from spreading. That is far from the truth. In fact, thousands of people in the US are actively against wearing masks. Whether for political or personal reasons, masks have become yet another divisive issue in US culture.
The evidence supporting the use of masks is near insurmountable at this point, so nobody should be doubting their efficacy. There is stacks on stacks of evidence proving that masks are extremely effective in preventing the spread of the virus. According to global polls by Imperial College London, around 75-80% of adults in the United States have claimed to wear their masks when out in public since the first mandate went out. But what about the remaining 20% of people who choose not to? Is it just because they are uncomfortable? While that may be true for most, it goes deeper than that. Aside from being a medical tool, masks have become an important political image over the past year. Some believe the mask mandates violate their human rights, and that it should be their choice to wear them or not. A select few have even gone out of their way to organize protests against the mandates.
Yes, masks are annoying–Especially now that we’ve had a brief breath of freedom over the first few weeks of school–only to be pulled back into a mask mandate, But the virus has grown and mutated back to a dangerous level, where vaccines are becoming less and less effective. Right now we have the rare chance to decide what we want our future to look like. We can continue to be lazy and ignorant and allow the pandemic to continue, or we can choose to mask up now and end this pandemic once and for all. While I certainly can’t speak for everyone at this school, let alone an entire country, I think many of us can agree that we want to return to a normal life without distancing ourselves from one another, especially with the constant threat of returning to online classes looming over our heads. Masks are annoying, but COVID is dangerous. It’s better to be proactive than reactive, so we should be active now in putting an end to this pandemic, even if that means putting up with some annoying masks for a few months longer.