Mask mandates need to be tightened, not lifted

Photo courtesy of Paul Hayes, RACGP


We are in the middle of a deadly pandemic, one that has taken the lives of over 500,000 Americans. Currently, at least six states plan on lifting their masks mandates, despite increasing the possibility of spreading the virus. 

This news is so upsetting. With vaccine rollout getting better and the “end” (I don’t think we will have a clear end to this, but we are approaching herd immunity) in sight, the apparent willingness to terminate mandates so soon is disturbing and irresponsible. 

The states that are ending their mask mandates are Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota. Alabama will be joining this list in April. To me, it is comical that the states that are ending their mask mandates have some of the worst numbers in the country and never got a good handle on COVID-19. 

Hearing the news that Texas was ending their mask mandate was quite shocking and frustrating. Reports indicate that people in these states, like Texas, who have ended their mask mandates are berating those who wear masks by verbally abusing them. 

There are currently a number of vaccines available, meaning that we are on a path toward herd immunity, something that scientists and regular people have been discussing for months. Now that this is a clear possibility, people should be trying to contain the spread of the virus more than ever. They should be doing this by staying home, or social distancing and wearing their face coverings. These simple tasks, that people should be used to by now, are easy to follow. 

I hope that although these states are no longer legally mandating face masks, businesses will continue to enforce these rules as it is their right. This could cause a lot of anger among the deniers of COVID-19, who are completely wrong in their belief, but their annoyance is worth trying to keep our citizens safe. 

If people stop wearing face masks and social distancing at the same time most states have announced businesses can open at 100% capacity, the result could possibly lead to a new wave of this horrible pandemic. I know for myself, I would love to get back to normal life, see my friends, get back on campus and simply hug my relatives who I have not been able to see for over a year. However, these dreams may not be possible because of the irresponsible state governments that chose to end the pandemic mandates before we are safe.

I can assume that most people want normalcy, to go to the mall, to the movies, on vacations and so much more. All that hinges on people continuing to cover their mouths and noses and social distancing. If we can do this, we can get back to normal much faster than if we cease wearing face coverings and not social distancing.