Masks, why we should continue to wear them

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Graphic illustration by staff

To be effective, masks should cover both one’s nose and mouth. Wearing a mask below one’s nose, under one’s chin or hanging off one’s face eliminates the purpose of the mask and creates a higher risk of infection. For best results, a face mask should contain multiple layers of fabric or a filter, and should be washed frequently.

As the Covid-19 death toll in the United States surpasses half a million, Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued executive order GA-34, which lifted the state’s mask mandate as of March 10.  Canyon ISD’s mandate lifted Monday, April 5, but students and staff should continue to wear masks. 

We seem to have forgotten the original purpose of wearing a mask: to protect others. According to the CDC, face coverings prevent respiratory droplets from getting into the air and help eliminate the risk of someone else breathing them in. Even if one does not feel sick, they should wear a mask whenever they come into contact with those who are outside of their household, as they may be asymptomatic and contagious. 

If everyone wears a mask, the faster the pandemic will end, and the faster everything will go back to normal. ”

— Charlie Clark, Staff Reporter

If everyone wears a mask, the faster the pandemic will end, and the faster everything will go back to normal. Opening back up to help the economy will actually do the opposite because, as more people are infected, the likelihood of another lockdown increases. It is better for businesses to have a smaller proportion of customers than no customers at all.

Wearing a mask has become a political statement rather than a sign of respect for others’ lives. Those who choose not to wear a mask say that their rights are being violated by mask mandates.  However, the tenth amendment empowers the States to pass and enforce necessary laws to protect its citizens. This includes mask mandates. Exercising one’s own freedoms should not endanger the lives of others, and choosing not to wear a mask is the perfect example of endangering every person one comes in contact with.  

One might argue that Texas’ cases are significantly lower than they were before. However, most underclassmen are not old enough to receive a vaccine, and therefore do not have the ability to be substantially protected.  At this point, it is inconvenient for a student to not be at school or to switch to an online education. The fact that vaccines are available is not a viable excuse to not wear a mask. Someone who is vaccinated could still be an asymptomatic carrier. According to The Texas Tribune, although vaccines are available to everyone 16 and up in Texas, there aren’t enough vaccines to go around at the current time.

Vaccines do not provide a 100% guarantee that one will not get sick. Even those fully vaccinated with the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines–which have 94% and 97% protection rates respectively–may not be protected from certain mutations of the virus. Texas currently has cases of some of these variants in places such as Lubbock and Houston. These variants spread faster than the initial virus and, in the case of the UK variant, cause worse symptoms and have a higher mortality rate. 

Masks are not a ball and chain on one’s feet. Rather, it is a simple piece of cloth across one’s face that protects others. The more one fixates on how annoying it may be, the more unbearable the easiest of tasks become. To wear a mask is not to just follow a rule; it is a sign of respect and an understanding of the situation at hand.