Why Does Everyone Look Like a Robber?

The role and importance of wearing a mask during the pandemic.

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Photo by Julia Hackney

Above, Julia Hackney demonstrates how to properly wear a mask, and exemplifies a fun at-home craft.

Have you ever been out, and suddenly ran into a colleague or fellow student? You were probably able to easily recognize them by their familiar face and voice.

Yet, these days, no one can recognize another person by their face because of the cloth mask in the way. This is because of the current virus which is requiring more people to wear masks as a safety precaution to slow the spread. You now have to recognize people by their eyes and listen closely to hear their voices speaking through the filter. While at first, it was an individual decision, it has become a recent need to wear a mask every time you step out of the house. This newly instated rule is bringing up a lot of controversy regarding whether it is actually needed or not.

Why do you need to wear one? 

Wearing face masks provides a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into their air and into public spaces. Known as “Source Control,” wearing the mask can minimize the spread, especially since the main way it is spreading is through people. The mask is supposed to work over the face and mouth to prevent any particles from traveling into the respiratory system. As of now, a face covering is required for the majority of the population but excludes people with medical disadvantages. Even though some people with the virus will have mild to no symptoms, they may spread it unknowingly. Therefore, cloth masks can greatly decrease the rate at which the virus is spreading. Furthermore, masks can prevent people from touching their face and decreases another way the virus can get into the system, especially through the mouth, nose, eyes, and ears. The most important aspect of these masks is to cover the mouth and nose to prevent the entrance of any virus residue. By limiting the hand from repeatedly touching the face, the spread of the virus can weaken.

Why should it not be a controversy?

The rule was instated as an attempt to flatten the curve or to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Yet, many are not believing it is necessary, and are venturing out without a mask.

“I think masks are extremely helpful and I am fine, and everyone should be fine with wearing them because they allow us to go out. Most of all, it is helping to slow the spread,” said Claire Zhang, who believes it should not be a controversy because of how safe it keeps us.

Additionally, recent Kinnelon graduate Daniella Rizzo also said, “Wearing a mask should not be a controversial action because masks are proven to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives. In combination with social distancing and other precautions, places like New Jersey are slowly starting to recover. However, there are still persistent people who say a piece of fabric can’t stop the spread of the virus or that they won’t get sick. Even if this was true, masks are at worst an inconvenience. To wear a mask and find out it was useless is a far better place to be than to neglect the precaution and later discover you could have prevented people from getting sick or dying. Masks are intended to protect the people around you as much as yourself, and that is so important. Wearing a mask is not a political statement, it is simply a graciousness and respect that you should pay to yourself and the people are you.”

What Qualifies?  

    Currently, surgical masks do not qualify as face coverings, as those materials should be reserved for the medical departments. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not recommend having a face shield, considering there is no guarantee that it would deflect particles from entering the system. Recently, many social media platforms have demonstrated how to make a cloth mask, as well.