Why Wearing Masks Isn’t Political

Recently, Trump hosted the Republican National Convention at the White House, and the only thing more astonishing than the fact that his speech was incredibly mundane and boring, was the fact that he openly opposed his own administration’s CDC guidelines. The CDC guidelines, as stated on their website, are “Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when around others,” while also reminding people, “The mask is not a substitute for social distancing.” Unfortunately, when Trump accepted the Republican nomination for the second term, out of 1,000 people who attended the convention, only a few wore masks or socially distanced. Trump didn’t mask or socially distance, setting the example for his supporters to do the same. Unfortunately, he now has coronavirus, confirmed on October 3rd, 2020. 

For months Trump refused to wear a mask in public, making it clear that he couldn’t care less for the well-being of others. On July 20, 2020, he finally tweeted a very rare photo of him wearing a mask, stating that doing so was a “patriotic” act. All of this came after he had very clearly demonstrated his belief that masks aren’t necessary, even going as far as retweeting Fox News’ Brit Hume’s tweet that made fun of Joe Biden for wearing a mask. 

Somehow, masks have become another staple of the liberal agenda in many conservatives’ minds. Every single state with a Democratic governor has mandated the wearing of masks. However, as recently as July 30th, 18 states still don’t mandate masks, and interestingly enough, every single one of them has a Republican governor. The fact that social distancing, wearing masks, and acknowledging that there is indeed a pandemic is still being debated shows how divided the US is politically. 

Why wearing masks is even a debate is beyond me. Doing so benefits one’s health and the overall wellness of the society. Masks aren’t much different from speed limits or getting vaccinated (though that’s a debate in and of itself), it’s entire purpose is to ensure the health and safety of other citizens. While some may say that masks make breathing harder, getting corona makes it even harder. Also, masks making breathing more difficult is a myth, oxygen intake is the same according to American Lung Association which stated, “The masks are designed to be breathed through and there is no evidence that low oxygen levels occur (ALA).” Masks may not offer complete protection from contracting coronavirus, but they help reduce the chance that the wearer transmits the virus. Additionally, according to the University of California Davis masks reduce the risk of infection for the person wearing it by 65%.

The argument put forth against masks is that they infringe on one’s rights, however they should be required nationally due to them being part of a public health issue that affects everyone. Trump’s blatant disregard for mask-wearing has not only contributed to him getting corona, but his staff and family as well. Numerous people from his administration have tested positive in the past few days, including his wife, senior adviser, press secretary, former Whitehouse advisor, and aides. Unsurprisingly, despite rarely wearing a mask and hosting in-person events without masks like Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination, Trump has yet to take responsibility for his “spreader” actions. However, despite saying “this is deadly stuff” (Costa, The Washington Post) and acknowledging that the coronavirus is airborne, he still went on to host super-spreader events, rallies and set an example of no mask-wearing after he received a positive test. The lives of 200,000 people could have been saved if only Trump had decided to take decisive action and decided not to “play it down, because [he didn’t] want to create a panic” (Costa, The Washington Post). As Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins.”