Masks. Needed for some, hated by most, and harmful to all.

Jordan Dohring, Newswriter

No one wants to wear masks. Trust me, I don’t either. While there are conflicting opinions and scientific evidence about the effectiveness of masks, discussions often overlook how they could be greatly detrimental to our mental health (5). As citizens of the United States, we have been keeping to the rules of social distancing, wearing masks, and more. This was originally to keep hospitals functional and without overwhelming numbers. Lately, the thought processes have been to keep people from getting the virus at all, which in some cases is essential, even though it lessens the number of natural adaptations our bodies can make to protect themselves from more illnesses. 

If individuals are at risk for COVID, it makes total sense to protect yourself in any way possible. However, those who aren’t vulnerable are still required to wear masks while socially distanced, or outside (2). While some evidence states that this practice is productive, there is mounting evidence that masks do not lessen the already low threat for healthy persons (1, 5, 6, 7). In addition, the loss of communication through our facial expressions, including how we can no longer experience the advantages of smiles is a negative effect. Furthermore, it increases the feelings of loneliness bringing new meaning to the phrase ‘feeling alone in a crowded room,’ or rather, ‘feeling alone in a 50% capacity, socially distanced room.’ 

Sharing smiles should be the norm for showing others you care about their health and well-being during this stressful time. Masks eliminate this possibility. It’s difficult to walk into the grocery store, or see a friend at school, and see a blank stare instead of an inviting expression. Smiles have been determined to improve mental health significantly by giving an endorphin boost to your brain (3). Without this reaction of calming and attractive human happiness, stress levels in public places particularly could be at an all-time high. It’s possible that it then contributes to the lingering panic some are still feeling with the presence of COVID.

Communities across the U.S. could still protect themselves and others without masks. As we continue to move back into a normal life, individuals should be able to choose how they would like to do so. Masking our natural human connection will only increase the problems of COVID.

 

References:
Are Face Masks Effective? The Evidence. (2020, July 30). Swiss Policy Research. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://swprs.org/face-masks-evidence/
Chamary, J. (2020, June 30). Do I Really Need To Wear A Mask Outdoors? Here’s The Science. Forbes. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/jvchamary/2020/06/30/face-mask-outdoors-coronavirus/#3a5aec8e1822
Gemmi, C., Dr. (2017, February 22). How Smiling Affects Those Around You. Orthodontics Limited. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.orthodonticslimited.com/blog/how-smiling-affects-those-around-you/
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2020, August 20). COVID-19: How much protection do face masks offer? Mayo Clinic. Retrieved October 13, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/in-depth/coronavirus-mask/art-20485449
Meehan, J., Dr. (2020, October 10). An Evidence Based Scientific Analysis of Why Masks are Ineffective, Unnecessary, and Harmful. Meehan MD. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.meehanmd.com/blog/2020-10-10-an-evidence-based-scientific-analysis-of-why-masks-are-ineffective-unnecessary-and-harmful/
Nolte, J. (2020, May 29). Nolte: The Science Turns Against America’s Mask Fascists. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/29/nolte-the-science-turns-against-americas-mask-fascists/
Wright, R. E. (2020, September 1). Unmasking Masks. American Institute for Economic Research. Retrieved October 20, 2020, from https://www.aier.org/article/unmasking-masks/