OC sounds off: Should masks be mandatory?

Victoria Kirova and Michael Brown

For (Victoria Kirova):

With the development of COVID-19 vaccines, many states have eased up on mask restrictions and even abolished them completely. For people that received the vaccine, this was finally a step in the direction of life going back to normal. However, with Delta variant cases soaring and individuals being unable to get vaccinated due to personal or outside reasons, mask mandates should be reimplemented. 

The removal of mask mandates occurred due to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) update stating that people who are fully vaccinated are safe to go in most public places without the protection of a mask. While the guidance of the scientists working for this organization should be trusted, there are too many exceptions when it comes to this regulation. According to the CDC, it is encouraged to still wear a mask when in crowded outdoor settings, areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, and for those who are at risk of contracting the disease, due to immune deficiencies. These exceptions make sense, but it is impossible to know when you are in a room with high transmission rates, so the only way to undoubtedly lessen the spread is to bring back the requirement of wearing masks. 

Some states, and on a more local scale, counties in Arizona, are making their own decisions on what to make of the termination of mask mandates. This is leading to a diverse array of rules that citizens have to follow, regarding masks. Certain states still require people to wear their masks, in most public places, whether or not they have received the vaccine. They have also kept the demand for masks to be worn in schools. On the other hand, some places have taken executive actions to prevent the need for masks to be worn in most places, including in schools. Since masks are still mandated in busy places, such as on public transportation and in airports, it only makes sense that they should be necessary in schools, where hundreds of people are closely packed together. 

The issue regarding the mask mandate is a challenging one, but it is simply a matter of asking, what can be done in order to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic is fully resolved? The global pandemic’s effects are palpable to people all around the world, and getting the vaccine is an effective solution. However, statistics show that only 56.1% of the U.S. population is vaccinated, so more people need to receive it before restrictions are lifted. The removal of masks is a step that individuals everywhere have long awaited, but with the discovery of the Delta variant, keeping mask mandates in place is the best answer at this moment in time.

Against (Michael Brown):

In the past couple years, COVID-19 has changed our lives drastically with many things such as lockdowns, mask mandates, and different opinions amongst many people about many different subjects. For quite a while now, it almost has seemed like COVID-19 does not exist due to the fact that we do not have to wear masks, people do not social distance, and everything has opened up. Although it is nice that we do not have to wear masks and stand six feet apart, COVID-19 cases are rising due to new variants and strains.

We still should not have to wear masks. A lot of people do not wear masks today and COVID-19 cases are rising just like when we had to wear masks. When we were aware of COVID-19 we went on lockdown, had to social distance, and wear masks. Now that there are multiple strains of COVID-19 and things are almost back to normal, cases are rising at the same rate as when we were on lockdown.

If people do not want to wear masks when cases are still rising, why make them? When we forced people to wear masks and forced them to stay inside their houses, people were unhappy and cases were still rising. Now that things have opened and we are back in schools and not forced to wear masks people are a lot happier but cases are still rising.

We have grown up without masks and when COVID-19 hit it was a very shocking thing that happened and many people did not know how to react to the masks. A lot of people hated the masks because they felt restricted and people just did not like them. If you give those people the opportunity to not wear a mask, they will not wear the mask. If you lift the mandate, people likely will not wear a mask; so what is the point of enforcing it again? In the end COVID-19 is here to stay, whether we wear the masks or not, so if we do not want to wear them, we should not have to.