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Friday, July 10, 2020

Coronavirus

Face masks are a sign of solidarity


Juana Garcia/ The Cougar

Juana Garcia/ The Cougar

As Texas begins to reopen and we attempt to get back to normal, the use of face masks, which is intended for safety, has become a polarized political issue. 

Protests arguing that the order requiring all Harris County residents to wear face masks in public is unconstitutional began in late April and continued throughout May. Other states are also seeing protests over face mask usage. 

It is understandable that people would protest for their right to be in control of their bodies and don’t want the government to be in control of them, read: women’s reproductive rights. 

However, this is a time of crisis and demanding freedom to spread a deadly virus seems irrational.

I agree that the order and fine for not wearing a mask could have been excessive and that could have caused people to react negatively, but I don’t think this is the right issue to take that strong of a stand on. 

Our society has deep rooted issues that are definitely worth protesting and most definitely need to be rectified, but wearing face masks is not worth a protest.

Wearing a mask in public is not only for your benefit, but for the safety and health of others who are at higher risk of getting the virus or have legitimate reasons for not wearing a mask.

People who have trouble breathing, are unconscious, have trouble removing the mask or are under the age of two should not wear a mask, according to the CDC.   

It seems ridiculous to me that people are against protecting themselves and others by simply wearing a face mask.

Most of us only have to wear it for a few minutes a day while we are running necessary errands, picking up food or whatever it may be; we are not required to wear a mask all day because most of us are not in the front lines combating the virus or providing our communities with supplies and food. 

Our few minutes are nothing compared to the long hours of wearing uncomfortable protective gear. 

Wearing a face mask is a sign of solidarity to medical personnel, essential workers and people who are at higher risk of contracting the virus. 

Wearing cloth face masks

The CDC recommends for anyone over the age of two who is in a public setting where it is difficult to follow social distancing guidelines to wear a cloth face covering

It is also important to note that the CDC is not urging us to spend money on surgical masks or N-95 respirators, they are telling us that wearing cloth face coverings can have a huge impact on slowing the spread of the virus. In fact, surgical masks and N-95 respirators should be reserved for healthcare workers and first responders. 

Wearing a face mask is a sign of solidarity and kindness; it’s a sign to others that you understand the complexity of this issue and that you want to do your part in slowing the spread of the virus. 

Even if you feel like you are not at risk of getting the virus, consider wearing a mask in solidarity for those who don’t have a choice and for those who sacrifice everything for their community. 

For more of The Cougar’s coronavirus coverage, click here.

Gina Medina is a journalism senior who can be reached at [email protected]

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