Wearing masks is a socially conscious effort even after COVID-19

Photo courtesy of Kate Trifo, Unsplash

In some East Asian countries, wearing a mask is already common practice. Places around the world have started to mandate face masks in common spaces. Yet here in the United States, the message has been very inconsistent.

Making the decision to wear a face mask makes more sense when you understand what face masks can and cannot actually do. Something that a face mask does very well is limit how far away your respiratory particles can travel. If you are sick and need to leave your house, what a face mask does is keep your germs in as much as possible.

The reason why it is important to wear a mask, even if you feel healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic, is because of carriers who are asymptomatic. Feeling healthy does not mean you may not be a carrier of the virus, meaning you could potentially spread the virus around.

At this point, wearing a mask feels like common courtesy, similar to the way we cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze. Wearing a mask while feeling entirely healthy has made me realize that I should definitely wear a mask in situations that require me to be in public spaces when I’m feeling sick with something other than COVID-19.

The amount of times I have accidentally given or received the flu from someone at work or school has been far too many. There are times when I do not have the chance to call out of work or still need to show up to a lecture because missing it will have me fall behind. If those scenarios were to come around again, I will definitely be wearing a mask without feeling the slightest bit of embarrassment.

At the moment, we should all be acting as if we are infected and avoid spreading it to another person. If I know I am feeling sick after COVID-19 dies down, I will act the same way I am now in order to contain the spread of my own germs – this is something we all should do. It’s heartbreaking to watch people disregarding something as simple as wearing a mask, or even going as far as purposely threatening to cough on another person because they do not believe the virus is as serious as it is. It goes to show how selfish people are, especially during times of a global emergency.

In the future when COVID-19 becomes a thing of the past, I do not believe that masks should be mandated if it is not detrimental to a person's health. At the same time, I feel like people will be more conscious of spreading their own germs if they have something even as minor as a cold. A mask has proven to be effective in serving its purpose, which is to limit how far away your respiratory particles travel. 

I am not sure if people will continue to wear masks after COVID-19 for other illnesses like the flu, but it would not be a terrible thing to see people wearing them as an act of courtesy and selflessness.