The Mask Debate


Emilia McLaughlin '21, Staff Writer

For those first affected by the virus to those who found it last, masks have been one of many, but a very important facet of the fight against Covid-19. However, many stand up against the masks, some calling them “ineffective,” others “problematic,” and more “an infringement of rights.” 

Episcopal currently has its students wearing masks at all times, as do countless other schools in the nation. The idea that they’re “ineffective” is almost difficult to comprehend as students, shoppers and those in public spaces are almost always wearing one, a rule which is both socially and systematically enforced. According to the WHO, The World Health Organization, while a mask “alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection against Covid-19,” they stress that masks are one part of several steps that when combined can prevent yourself and loved ones from catching the disease. While only washing your hands, only staying distanced, or only wearing a mask may not be as efficient when done alone, these important precautions together decrease the likelihood of contracting the disease or passing it to others. 

Are certain kinds of masks more helpful than others? The CDC recommends wearing masks made of “two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric,” while the WHO adds that masks made of “three layers of synthetic nonwoven materials.” Masks that can be cleaned are recommended, as well as masks that have an inner, outer and middle layer. The CDC has stated that whether face shields and gaiters are effective or not has yet to be determined. 

Whether the masks are truly an “infringement of rights” is a debated topic. Many claims state that it’s a grab for the federal government to increase their own power by controlling what we wear. On the other hand, people argue that in the same way one doesn’t falsely warn “Fire!” in a movie theater, the government arguably has the right to restrict certain rights for public safety and well being. As long as the WHO and CDC recommend their usage, there may not be much of a case with those rallying for the personal decision to wear masks or not. Regardless of these opinions, the usage of them is required and enforced in shops, schools, workplaces, and other spaces where people come into contact with one another. 

Masks, which have become a necessary every day accessory, find themselves and their usefulness doubted by some. However with official organizations supporting them, they will most likely find themselves far from on the way out for a long time.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.