While a country-wide mask mandate could've potentially curbed the spread of the virus in the country substantially, not all states have the ability or will to enforce it.
The rise of the anti-mask movement in America largely stemmed from the confusing and contradictory messages issued by the political leadership. From President Donald Trump to state governors themselves failing to set examples, a number of Americans see mandates for face coverings as an infringement upon their rights. However, studies have shown that masks—in combination with physical distancing—can reduce the risk of the coronavirus infection. Essentially, a country-wide mask mandate could've potentially curbed the spread of the virus in the country substantially.
These no mask people are just as bad as the anti vaxxers!! pic.twitter.com/XbFY6QpjZn— THE COOKIN MAMA (@THECOOKINMAMA) June 18, 2020
However, not all states have the ability or will to enforce a mask mandate. For example, in California—after the governor left enforcement up to local governments—some sheriffs' departments said it would be inappropriate to penalize mask violations. According to KHN, the authorities' nonchalance about masks has now prompted some health care workers to make personal appeals to the public. Amy Arlund, a 45-year-old nurse at the COVID unit at the Kaiser Permanente Fresno Medical Center, is one such medical professional who, after the Fresno County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office announced it didn’t have the resources to enforce the mandate, issued a plea to her friends and family about the importance of masks during these dangerous times.
Listen to the doctor. Wear your mask! https://t.co/gZ4e1A4s1f— Sunshinegirl1962🥁🥁🥁 (@Jodygirlthatsme) June 25, 2020
Taking to Facebook on June 24, she wrote: I am an ICU nurse here in Fresno. I work in a designated Covid unit. I am imploring every resident of Fresno County to wear a mask at all times. Do it for me, because I don't have enough PPE to protect myself while I give hands-on nursing care to those who are dying from this virus. Wear it because we don't have enough ICU beds here in the Central Valley to take care of everyone. Survival from ICU hospitalization depends on whether or not there are enough nurses present to do the life-saving work around the clock that saves lives.
If I'm wrong, you wore a silly mask and you didn't like it. If I'm right and you don't wear a mask, you better pray that all the nurses aren't already out sick or dead because people chose not to wear a mask. Please tell me my life is worth a LITTLE of your discomfort? Arlund pleaded. Speaking to KHN, the mother-of-one revealed that since her work puts her at great risk of contracting the virus, she now lives in a "zone" of her house that no other family member is permitted to enter.
Masks do not drop your oxygen levels pic.twitter.com/0Ynb7VjKqa— Amanda Deibert🏳️🌈 (@amandadeibert) June 26, 2020
Even when she when it comes to interactions with her 9-year-old daughter, they make it a practice to wear masks and sit 3 feet apart from each other. In light of such sacrifices her family has to make every day in this fight against the pandemic, anti-mask comments are particularly upsetting, explained Arlund. She recalled a disturbing interaction her husband had at a local hardware store where a woman approached him and told him that he looked "ridiculous" in the N95 mask he was wearing. "It’s like mask-shaming, and we’re shaming in the wrong direction," she said. "He does it to protect you, you cranky hag!"
Anti-maskers wearing a mask for 3 seconds: pic.twitter.com/Ny1L8QR8O6— Alec Greer 💙 (@FelineLover1234) July 3, 2020
Cynthia Butler, a registered nurse at Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte, Florida, has a similar story to tell. The 62-year-old cited a conversation she had with a young man at the register of a pet store where she asked him why he wasn’t wearing a mask. "His tone was more like, this whole mask thing is ridiculous," she revealed. Butler chose not to tell him that she had just recovered from a COVID-19 infection contracted at work although the exchange deeply saddened her. "They may think you’re stepping on their rights," she said, explaining why she doesn't lecture everyone she encounters without a mask. "It’s not anything I want to get shot over."
One post suggested wearing them would lead to breathing in your exhaled carbon dioxide— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 21, 2020
This is highly unlikely – the CO2 molecules you breathe out won’t be trapped
This anti-mask meme asks: Why, if they work, are we social distancing?— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) June 21, 2020
Truth is, neither method gives us full protection, but having both can help limit the spread of the virushttps://t.co/jm7a0ct031 pic.twitter.com/601Yfsk1fW