mask regulations

(Jade McIntyre / Daily Titan) 

COVID-19 cases in the United States have reached over 7.41 million. For a virus that has taken the lives of over 200,000 Americans and over 1 million people worldwide, anti-maskers just haven’t gotten the memo yet — it’s onlybeen about 10 months since the virus started infecting people in the U.S. 

But don’t lose hope yet, folks. The U.S. could lower their cases by almost 92%. 

There is no complex, intricate solution. There’s no monthly subscription. As a matter of fact, the solution can even be found in everyday households, or made from something in a closet. 

Here is how to keep people safe and lower coronavirus cases: wear a mask.  

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, maintain at least six feet away from other people and wear a mask to cover the nose and mouth when others are around, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The government merely requesting that people wear a mask isn’t denying Americans their freedom. It’s a necessity, and it’s time to stop being selfish and actually care about the strangers that surround one another, for once. 

Masks are a simple barrier to slow the spread of the virus from people who may be carrying it. Even if a person is asymptomatic from the virus, it’s vital that they also wear a mask in public because they can spread the virus, according to the CDC.

Although some may argue that they don’t need a mask because they’ve tested negative, isn't it better to just give yourself and the people around you a peace of mind by simply wearing a mask? This simple act of courtesy will help protect the wearer and those around them from potential infection. 

Despite the fact that the majority of Americans wear masks to slow the spread, 45% of Americans still refuse to wear one whether it’s due to politics, conspiracies or simply not caring. 

As the nation struggles to fight the virus, this is the time for local, state and national governments to issue a penalty for those who don’t wear a mask in public. 

In June, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered that all Californians are to wear face coverings while in public or high-risk settings. The order comes after Newsom became increasingly concerned about how many people weren’t wearing masks in public spaces, according to the Los Angeles Times. 

Although it’s a good step forward, the way it’s being enforced is not. Authorities have chosen to use a voluntary compliance approach, as opposed to written citations or tickets. Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes has indicated that it isn’t law enforcement’s job to ensure people are following the state’s mask order —  an order that could save thousands of lives if properly enforced. 

Instead, Barnes said it is each person’s responsibility to abide by social distancing and face-covering regulations. 

If law enforcement is supposed to serve and protect those in danger, why shouldn’t they enforce mask regulations protecting those at risk from the dangers of COVID-19?

Over 20 California cities and counties are handing out fines for those who aren’t wearing masks, with each repeated offense a higher ticket. However, the state and nation must come to a consensus and implement this mandate in order to truly slow the spread of coronavirus.

Japan has been able to maintain the lowest mortality rates from COVID-19 compared to other major nations, and it's also been able to return to a sense of normalcy without even having a lockdown. 

Japan’s secret? Again, wearing a mask at all public outings.   

However, amid the mask controversy, the CDC has stated that there is some exception for not wearing a mask, such as children under the age of two and anyone who has trouble breathing or is otherwise unable to remove their masks without assistance. 

Keeping in mind that COVID-19 travels through the respiratory tract such as mouth, nose, throat and lungs, NPR’s health correspondent Maria Godoy said people with these conditions need to especially cover up when going out in public, because they are at an even “greater risk for severe disease if they get COVID-19.” 

During our current health crisis, wearing a mask needs to become an everyday habit, even if it’s just for a quick run to the market. Clearly, some people still aren’t taking the health crisis seriously –– even though it’s been 10 months –– and it’s for this reason that the government needs to take greater treads toward protecting the health of its people and enforce mask-wearing. 

Wearing a mask isn’t optional, it needs to be necessary. 




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