The importance of wearing a mask

Editorial by Lily Temple – Staff Reporter

 

I’m sure everyone is tired of wearing masks, and some people may even wonder why. But even though it might not be the most comfortable or it may feel weird, it is important to wear masks to keep everyone safe. In an October 2020 interview with Business Insider, Dr. Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force and director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), talked about the importance of wearing a mask. According to Business Insider, “They [masks] keep infected people’s germs closer to them, and as such are ‘a logical strategy to curb transmission’, Fauci and his colleagues said.” When the people around you aren’t getting Covid-19, or when they do, they recover quickly, it seems easy to forget how deadly the virus is for some people, but this is a time where it is very important to think about other people. 

 

You never know who you are interacting with on a daily basis. “What we need is to get the message across that we are all in this together. And it’s important because one of the purposes of the masks is that if you may be inadvertently walking around not knowing you’re infected—to protect others from getting infected. We have to keep hammering home with that message,” Fauci said in Business Insider. It’s as simple as if you were in a self-checkout line at Target and you unknowingly exposed the person in front of you to Covid-19. That person in front of you could be a nurse in a nursing home and if she contracted the virus and went to work before she was showing symptoms, she could’ve exposed any number of residents who may not be strong enough to recover. 

 

Although it is important for everyone to be careful and wear a mask, healthcare workers, specifically people who work in nursing homes, must be extra conscious about their choices. In many nursing homes, visitors are not allowed. The only people who are coming and going are the workers. The truth is that nursing home residents have to depend on the workers to be safe and mindful about what they do when they leave but of course, they only have control of themselves. That is why it is so imperative that everyone wears masks, social distances, and limits their contact with others. 

 

Once Covid-19 is brought into a nursing home, it spreads like wildfire. I’ve seen this happen before my own eyes. My grandmother was living in a nursing home in Dexter, Missouri. In that part of Missouri, there is not a mask mandate which means that it is not required to wear a mask, so most people don’t. One of the head nurses who interacts with almost all of the residents contracted Covid-19. I watched slowly while more nurses and residents were diagnosed with the disease. It was several weeks before my grandmother had a positive test. Her health started to deteriorate and within days she was in the hospital fighting for her life. It was a short couple of weeks before she passed away on December 7, 2020. I am telling this story so people can really understand that their actions affect other people. Wearing a mask and being careful is the simplest way to do your part to keep others safe.