Wearing masks and following other guidelines during this pandemic is very important because it helps to reduce the spread of germs to other people who are near you. Wearing a mask was required when COVID-19 started for everyone’s safety, but not everyone has been following this guideline, which increased the spread of this virus even more and put a lot of stress on the medical professionals. We also have to see that in some countries, these supplies are not available, and more should be done to help everyone stay safe and reduce the spreading.

Why is Wearing the Mask Important?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when a person coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice, masks help prevent the respiratory droplets from spreading into the air and to other people. The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) describes how one of their laboratory studies on respiratory droplets showed that droplets from 20 to 500 micrometers were generated when someone spoke a sentence, but the majority of droplets were blocked from spreading when the mouth was covered by a cloth. Another evidence came when 15 states were compared before wearing masks and after wearing masks. Wearing masks slowed down the daily COVID-19 growth rate, which became more noticeable over time. Also, another study looked at the death rate in 198 countries and found that those who were required to wear the masks from their government rulings had lower death rates. Another example that the UCSF provided is about two hair stylists that were sick with COVID-19 and had close contact with 140 clients who were all wearing masks, and none of the customers tested positive. This shows that even when you are close to someone who may have the virus, if you are wearing the mask, you will be better protected from their germs. We never know if the person next to us or if we ourselves have COVID-19 or not, so wearing masks will not only help protect us but also the people around us.

Some People Do Not Follow These Guidelines

Some people don’t want to follow rules, and those are the people that create more risks. One of the articles I read argued, “If you say, for example, that wearing a mask will help protect others, people in individualistic cultures just care less”. Sometimes individualistic cultures care less because they are not educated enough on the topic, so they think that whatever they are told is wrong and is not true, so they don’t care even if they are told all the disadvantages. In addition, people in individualistic cultures reject the rules of authorities because they think they have the right to do what they want, so they are disinterested in the wellbeing of others and just do what they want to do. When lockdown was over, and beaches and parks were reopened, public gatherings came back to normal, and there was no social distancing. It was as if people thought that the virus was gone after the lockdown was over. They did not understand that lockdown was over, but there were still safety guidelines that had to be followed. Because people started caring less again, now as we are approaching the end of the year, cases have been increasing again, and the death rate of Coronavirus patients is especially increasing. Another article I read stated, “The guidelines are not mandatory in most states. And that frustrates many Americans who feel tempted to say or do something when they see people violating them.” This is very frustrating because it discourages people from following them. I understand that many people are going through mental stress staying at home all the time because everyone has their own personal problems going on. It is not wrong to go out, but people need to realize that they still need to social distance and wear masks and follow other safety guidelines to keep themselves and their families safe so we can all reduce the spread of this virus.

How Medical Professionals Are Affected By This

People not wearing masks has led to increased coronavirus cases, which has given medical professionals trouble in handling the overwhelming number of patients they had to care for with limited supplies. This also put them at risk for catching coronavirus too, as they had to deal with more coronavirus patients. Since the pandemic started, many healthcare workers have been experiencing many challenges, especially the people who worked on the frontlines day and night as the cases were increasing. Many of them were scared that they would also get infected because of the many COVID patients they were surrounded with, and in addition, hospitals are places that are always filled with many microbes and bacteria. Many healthcare professionals worked more than usual because even with so many nurses, doctors, and other professionals, hospitals still needed more help. Many COVID patients passed away, and it was very hard for health care professionals to handle so many things at once; it put so much emotional and physical stress on them. Some did not even get to meet their families for days, and even if they went home, they had to isolate and stay away from their kids because they did not know what they were bringing home. It was a scary time for everyone, and it still is because cases are increasing again as the year is coming to an end. Many health professionals got infected and even passed away in the process of working long hours at the hospitals. This was very sad and heart breaking; many people realized even more how hard health care professionals work, and it made us appreciate them even more. It is very important that we all start wearing masks everywhere we go so we can reduce the spread of the coronavirus and lessen the burden on medical professionals too.

What About Places That Are Less Developed?

Many countries want to stay safe and follow the guidelines, but they are unable to do so because of lack of supplies. The UN has worked to send key medical equipment for 135 low to medium income countries. They are also working to teach the doctors and nurses at the hospitals to learn how to safely dress in PPE (personal protective equipment), so they know how to keep themselves and the patients safe. The World Health Organization also said, “the task force aims to procure 75 million face masks, 50 million respirators, 28 million surgical gloves, 10 million face shields and three million goggles for distribution.” This is very nice as supplies are being distributed in those countries in need, and I believe that the wealthy countries need to continuously do this, so people around the world are able to follow safety guidelines and reduce this virus.

What Can Be Done?

States that have not made the guidelines mandatory need to make them mandatory, so people are motivated to follow them and not just ignore them. Supplies that are being sent to less developed countries need to be done continuously so that they get continuous support throughout this pandemic. Many people are already working remotely, but there are many people who are not because their jobs cannot be worked from online. So those kinds of jobs need to implement rules on social distancing and mask wearing during the work hours so all the people that are working together can stay safe.