Letter to the Editor: Mask Wearing Isn’t a Weakness


Elvert Barnes

Photo courtesy of Elvert Barnes on Flickr.

Angelina Wilson, Guest writer

The COVID-19 pandemic has become the center of attention for 2020. Our world has become confined to the walls of our homes to keep us safe from the infection outside. For essential needs, such as getting gas or going grocery shopping, we have been told by the Center for Disease Control that we need to wear face masks to protect ourselves.

In countries such as China, Japan and South Korea, wearing masks was common practice pre-pandemic. Many other countries followed suit, embracing the protective barrier as an easy and inexpensive means of protection.

However, here in America people have struggled with the idea of wearing a mask, and many seem to think it is their “right” to not wear one.

In early June, 65% of Americans said they regularly wore masks, compared to newer statistics reported between Aug. 3 to 16, which now say 85% of U.S. adults claim they wear masks. With adults under the age of 30, 82% said they wore masks daily, up 20% compared to June.

The number of adults, children and elderly wearing masks has increased since the pandemic. However, the number of people wearing masks is still unacceptably low.

When the news first spread of the virus, everyone thought it would be a quick two weeks of at home quarantine. Then life would return to normal. Nowadays, we seem to be living in a never-ending nightmare. Even when we do get a vaccine, a Gallup poll says that one in three Americans won’t accept the injection. It will take time, and we will have to rely on masks until everyone has the vaccine.

In America, wearing a mask seems to be a sign of weakness to many. As time goes on, more and more Americans are becoming less scared of the virus, getting sick and tired of quarantine and not willing to put forth the effort of wearing a face mask for public safety, despite studies showing they prevent the virus’s spread.

“It is easy to think that people don’t follow the recommendations because they don’t want to, but there are also systemic and situational issues at play that affect people’s behavior. These can range from problems with communications, comprehension, and personal risk assessment,” said Stephen Broomell, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University, who studies judgment and decision making under uncertainty.

I also found the mask annoying at first. But, after realizing the importance of wearing on, and using one for hours at my essential job, I invested in a good quality face mask that will protect me and the public. I never leave the house without it, and it has become as essential as remembering my keys and wallet when leaving the house.

Wearing a mask isn’t just to protect yourself, but to protect others from a potentially deadly fate. This is the way we live in these hard times, and in my opinion, it is very selfish to forego wearing a mask.

Angelina Wilson is a student at Diablo Valley College participating in Journalism 110.