Alexander Andersen, a junior communication studies major from Los Angeles, is conflicted about whether taking his mask off is a good idea. Bailey Chism says, “We should still continue to wear masks in public to protect ourselves and others.” Photo by Bailey Chism.
Ending the mask mandate for Utah on April 10 is only going to make things worse for people.
Predictions made earlier this year told us that the mandate should end before the summer of 2022, maybe even earlier, but it shouldn’t be this early.
As a new variant of COVID-19, also known as B 1.1.7, makes its way into the United States, now is not the time to take a form of protection away. The CDC said this new strand of COVID-19 would be the dominant strand in the U.S. by March.
The B 1.1.7 strand was found to be more transmittable and exhibits rapid growth. Knowing this, why would any states still want to lift their mask mandates? It’s unsafe and could be extremely dangerous for high-risk people.
In an article by Deseret News, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus adviser, confirmed that it is risky to end the mask mandate because the coronavirus is still circulating throughout the United States. The virus still exists even with the new vaccines rolling out, and now is the time we want as much protection as possible against it.
There are people who don’t believe masks do anything to protect us from the virus, but that’s been proven to be false. In a study done by the Mayo Clinic, it was found that even a simple cloth mask can prevent people from spreading and getting infected with the virus. In other words, not only can masks prevent people from getting the virus, but it also stops those that already have the virus from spreading it to others.
As the pandemic continues, more and more people are rebelling against wearing their masks in public. Even just going into Walmart, it’s crazy how many people I’ll see wearing their masks under their chin or not even wearing one at all. This is part of the reason we are still in a pandemic; people are not following safety and health guidelines, and they are putting others at risk.
I know there are people with mask anxiety, and mask are hard to breathe in and uncomfortable to wear sometimes, but not wearing them will make you and others around you vulnerable to infection. If you don’t want to wear a mask in public, avoid putting yourself in that setting as much as possible. Think about all the people you could potentially be putting in harm’s way by not following the public health guidelines.
As annoying as masks are and as much as everyone doesn’t like wearing them, we can’t deny that they are helping slow the spread of COVID-19. Ending the mask mandate can send us reeling back to when this all started when there were thousands of cases every day.
Even though Gov. Spencer Cox signed the bill to lift the mandate in Utah, we should still continue to wear masks in public to protect ourselves and others. If we want to avoid going back into a statewide quarantine, masks are the least we can do to help.