COVID-19 has infected over 40 million people and killed 650,000 individuals (New York Times). The US Government’s vaccine rollout and lockdown orders have caused Covid 19 cases to decrease significantly, with the president even claiming a successful vaccination rollout according to the New York Post (“Biden Claims”). Despite the president’s declaration, infections and deaths have begun to climb back up due to the Delta variant’s rise, with President Biden announcing the possibility of a controversial national mask mandate. Some states, such as Illinois and New York, have already enacted their own statewide mask mandates to counter COVID-19, but people in other states, like Florida and Texas, seem to be uninterested in mandatory COVID 19 regulations.
For starters, the mask mandates have been quite effective with a statement by the CDC reporting that in Kansas a mask mandate was implemented in July 2020 and caused COVID 19 rates to decrease by nearly 6%. In counties without mandates, Covid 19 cases rose; some by nearly 100%! (Van Dyke, CDC). The CDC and WHO have praised mask mandates as effective measures to counter the pandemic and maintain safety against the threat of COVID. I believe a federal or series of state mask mandates are important measures that should be taken in order to protect people and communities threatened by the virus. However, other people disagree and do not believe that mask mandates are appropriate measures.
In the South, groups of Trump supporters, conservative groups, and Republican voters have defied early COVID 19 measures and said they would continue to do so under a Biden mask mandate (Fox News). Tucker Carlson, a FOX TV news anchor states, “Leaders need to explain their mandates, not just tell people to shut up and obey.” (FOX Live) This statement in my opinion is an incredibly inappropriate response since the science already provides that mask are effective, which is supported by the national library of medicine stating that “N95 masks, medical masks and home-made masks can block 99.98%, 97.14%, and 95.15% of virus in aerosols” (“How effective”). Despite this evidence, people, like in one Florida town, have protested mask mandates in their state, even refusing to wear masks at in-dining establishments (Fox Article).
Disregarding COVID 19 guidelines are dangerous, with the Florida town observing an 87% increase in virus cases (CNN; MSNBC). People’s refusal to follow Covid 19 guidelines seems to be politically motivated. COVID should not be a political issue! It shouldn’t be a political issue because lives are at risk across the country! This pandemic is real, and measures must be taken to ensure the security of families and loved ones. People need to consider that even though wearing masks are unpleasant, it saves lives and avoids putting people at risk of getting the disease. The pandemic has taken its toll on our country and communities, but a mask mandate would be a significant measure in fighting the virus and helping us recover from this pandemic.
I believe a mask mandate would be effective at combating these diseases. While it would be great for people to follow the CDC guidelines without being forced to, the reality is that partisan politics have led to a federal mask mandate needing to be implemented. No one wants to wear masks but they are critical to saving our neighbors and families lives. As mentioned before, science shows that masks are working and helping to control the virus. I think the mask mandates should be implemented in places where cases are rising.