Since the outbreak of COVID-19 took The United States, many changes have been implemented all over the country in an attempt to lessen the number of cases and deaths.
In the more recent weeks, the governor of Pennsylvania, Tom Wolf, has made a call for the use of masks anytime an individual leaves their home and is in a public area. This means that when anyone visits the grocery store, the pharmacy or anywhere else that they may need to go where they would be in contact with others, they should be wearing some sort of shield over their mouth and nose.
More recently, I have seen many people protesting this initiative, claiming that it is their choice whether they wear a mask or not.
One reason that people have stated they won’t be wearing masks is because you can still contract the virus even while wearing one. Though that is, unfortunately, the truth, those people are missing the point.
While wearing a facemask doesn’t directly protect you, it protects others from you. Even if you think you haven’t been in contact with anyone who may have COVID-19, there might be a chance that you are a carrier. As a matter of fact, while many people do show symptoms when they have contracted the Coronavirus, a notably large percentage of people have tested positive while showing no physical signs of illness — proving that this virus can be asymptomatic.
Should you have the virus, whether you know you do or not, wearing a facemask means that you would be shielding others from the bodily fluids which could pass the germs to someone else, potentially making them ill.
Though it is not a measure that can be taken to ensure that you yourself do not get sick, this is something that must be done for the good of others. It is an act that does nothing for you, but rather for the citizens just like you who are just trying to make it through these dark and challenging times.
And while it is true there is no immediate personal gain from wearing masks every time we leave the house, there are long term effects that I think everyone would be interested in.
Should we all choose to do the right thing by complying with Wolf’s plea, we will effectively be doing our part to flatten the curve. The number of cases will go down and the bans and restrictions put on our normal lives will be lifted.
So yes, you can still catch the Coronavirus even if you go to Target with a mask on, but maybe thanks to you, a small child won’t, an elderly person won’t or a person with preexisting health conditions won’t — all of whom are put at extreme risk should they come in contact with this disease.
Right now is not the time to be selfish. It is not the time to stick it to the man by blatantly ignoring the safety recommendations we are given. You can do that any other time, I promise. But right now we must all look out for each other. With the uncertainty of the world around us, we each have a civic duty to do our part to protect each other in any way we can.
And that includes wearing a mask.
Ali Kochik is a second-year English major minoring in journalism. AK908461@wcupa.edu