Why wearing a mask is not a joke, now more than ever

Why wearing a mask is not a joke, now more than ever

Naomi Lopez

People are dying. I feel like that’s something that isn’t being comprehended. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, nations across the globe have taken heavy losses. People have lost their friends, family, classmates, coworkers… the list goes on. Despite what people may tell themselves to make themselves feel better, this virus is only getting worse.

     Wearing a mask is annoying, sure. It messes with your makeup, muffles your voice, and blocks a little bit of oxygen intake. But here’s the thing; that doesn’t matter. At a scarily fast rate, COVID-19 has mutated and developed multiple variants of itself. Alpha, Beta, Delta, and Omicron. Currently, the two that are being the most focused on are Delta and Omicron, as Delta is incredibly severe for un-vaccinated individuals, and Omicron is the newest variant, which is said to be the most contagious one yet.

     It is no secret that the virus can be fatal. As of now in California alone, there are an estimated 72.8 million cases, with 79,117 deaths due to the virus. 

     As of December 15th, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered a mask mandate stating that all individuals are to wear masks “in indoor public spaces and workplaces.” This mandate was ordered as a safety measure against the virus, as the effects of it are different to everybody. While COVID-19 may not affect you, it is much more susceptible to elderly and those with preexisting conditions, as stated by the CDC. 

     Here’s what many students may be thinking; They’re young, so who cares if they get it, right? There’s no need to wear a mask, because it won’t affect them. A mask is too annoying, too uncomfortable. Maybe they’re asymptomatic, or they won’t feel the symptoms as harshly, so why wear it?

     I’m here to tell you that people who have suffered from this virus are not a statistic. Sure, you’re not at risk. But these strands of COVID-19 have grown more contagious, and it has been tested and proven that masks help contain the spread of the virus. People need to grasp the concept of the word “dead.”  People are dead. People will continue to die if society refuses to listen to the rules that have been placed upon us by medical professionals. 

     The neglect of the mask mandate that has been ordered in California is irresponsible and disheartening. Many believe that the mask mandate is unnecessary, and refuse to wear one.

     Mayo Clinic, the number one hospital nationwide, states, “They’re meant to protect the wearer from contact with droplets and sprays that may contain germs. A medical mask also filters out large particles in the air when the wearer breathes in.” As explained, masks prevent the virus from spreading to others, or reaching you. Without the use of them, these germs gain the freedom to enter your system.

     Dr. Fauci, Chief Medical Advisor to the President of the United States, states, “What the CDC has said — and it gets misinterpreted — they’re saying wearing any mask is better than no mask at all… But there is a degradation of capability of preventing you from getting infected and preventing you from transmitting it to someone else. So, we should be wearing the best possible mask that we can get. That’s a fact.” 

     In addition to Fauci’s recommendations, the New York Times, currently reporting on COVID cases, states “About one in 3 U.S. hospitals with intensive care units, or 955 total hospitals, recently reported that at least 95 percent of their I.C.U. beds were full.” 

     There are hardly any beds left. No beds means no beds for your parents if they get in a crash, no beds for your siblings who get sick so suddenly. No beds for your grandparents who take a hard fall, no beds for anyone who has medical emergencies that are unrelated to COVID. No beds means no beds.

     This virus is not a joke. It’s not something for people to ignore, it’s not something for anyone to write off as “not their problem.” People are dying. Don’t be selfish. There is nothing more precious in this world than a life, and anyone could help save one if they wear a mask in times like these.