To the People Who Are Protesting About Being 'Forced' to Wear a Mask
Disclaimer: I just want to clarify that if you are unable to wear a face mask for a legitimate medical reason, this post isn’t directed at you.
I’m sorry to be blunt, but I have had enough of this nonsense. The last few weeks, some people have been refusing to wear face masks because they feel that being required to wear a face mask in public places violates their human rights. Their country is asking them to protect their own people by doing something as simple as covering their faces in public places, yet people are refusing and claim to be patriots. Yes, you read that right — people are refusing to follow a guideline our government put in place in order to save lives. Instead, they are protesting in large groups of people without taking precautions, ultimately endangering others, and claim to be patriots.
I understand that face masks are uncomfortable — I have to wear one in public places during flu/cold/virus season every year. But isn’t it worth it to be a little bit uncomfortable if it is going to save lives? I have been seeing a lot of posts about this “great injustice” and have some opinions about this whole ordeal.
1. Wearing a mask helps protect our country’s most vulnerable people.
I keep hearing the phrase “if you don’t want to catch the virus, then don’t leave your house,” which just shows how little understanding a healthy person has about what it is like to be sick. Many disabled people, myself included, require comprehensive healthcare which puts us in contact with potential carriers of the virus on a regular basis. Trust me, immunocompromised people aren’t out and about living our lives as normal. When life allows it, we are hunkered down at home hoping for the best. But we also have doctors’ appointments, surgeries, treatments, and infusions that are outpatient. These are things we need if we want to live and a pandemic doesn’t change that fact.
We are forced to leave our houses due to medical emergencies that require hospital admissions. We have home healthcare workers coming and going through our houses that provide the services that we can’t survive without. All of this puts us at risk of contracting COVID-19, but we don’t really have a choice if we want to continue living. That is why “just staying home” isn’t a viable solution. That is why we need everyone to do their part.
2. If you don’t want to wear a face mask, don’t leave your house.
You do not require outpatient life-saving treatments and hospital stays. You don’t have to weigh the pros/cons of leaving your house for medical care and try to make the decision that is least detrimental to your health. How about you stay home if you have such a huge problem with following the rules?
You may need to leave the house for work or essential errands, but doing so carries an obligation not to endanger other people. When we wear a face mask, not only are we protecting ourselves, but we are also protecting others. By not wearing a mask in public places, you are saying that you think that your life is more valuable than everyone else. Risk your own life, I don’t care, but if you think you have the right to risk other people’s lives because you don’t want to wear a face mask, you are wrong.
3. Re-opening the country and being required to wear a face mask are two very different issues.
I keep seeing people mush together the required face mask rule and reopening the country into one big problem. I am reminding you that they are two very different issues. Being required to wear a face mask isn’t the reason our country is a mess. We are in the middle of a pandemic. If you want our country to open up soon, then maybe you should wear a mask!
By not wearing a mask, you are contributing to the spread of the virus, which will ultimately put you out of work longer. Wanting the country to open up again so people can get back to work and provide for their families is something I can wrap my head around. Not wearing a mask is a selfish decision that says you believe your temporary discomfort from wearing a mask is more important than someone’s life. They are two very different situations.
4. Why are we making this into a problem?
I would just like to point out that when other countries were told to wear a mask in public places, they did what was safest for everyone by doing what they were asked. They didn’t throw tantrums and demand the “right” to be reckless and spread the virus more. They decided to protect their own people by putting on a damn mask. Why are we even debating this? And with everything going on around the world, why is this such a huge deal?
We are in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, unarmed black men are being murdered while jogging, our country is at war, people are out of work and struggling to get by, and there are children who don’t have access to food and healthcare. But apparently, being required to wear a mask in public is what you care the most about right now. Why is your right to go to the grocery store without a mask on, potentially putting someone’s life at risk, such as the grocery store employees that are risking their health so you can eat, so important to you? If you think having to wear a face mask to the store is “unfair,” check your privilege. And by the way, life isn’t fair — that’s just how it is.
You are not one of the good guys when you decide to disregard the guidelines put in place in order to keep everyone safe. I’m sorry, but I don’t view you as a patriot when you decide to endanger the lives of our most vulnerable. I see you as part of the problem.
For more on the coronavirus, check out the following stories from our community:
- 10 Face Masks People With Chronic Illness Recommend
- How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer
- Which Face Masks Prevent Against Coronavirus?
- The Problem With Saying ‘Only’ the Elderly and Immunocompromised Will Be Affected by COVID-19
- If I Get COVID-19 It Might Be Ableism – Not the Virus – That Kills Me
- How America’s COVID-19 Response Is Exposing Systemic Ableism
This story originally appeared on Grace and Mito.
Getty image by Nuthawut Somsuk.