Mask Mandates Are a Must
When my grandparents told me they were traveling to Texas to see my grandma’s sister and her husband, I was worried.
I texted them, “Be safe! Wear a mask!” I knew others around them probably wouldn’t.
Texas is one of the growing number of states that has recently lifted mask mandates. On Tuesday, March 2, Texas governor Greg Abbott made the statewide announcement.
“It is now time to open Texas 100 percent,” he said during his speech at a local restaurant in Lubbock, Texas.
The mask mandate fully expired on Monday, March 10, right in the middle of my grandparents’ visit.
Some Texans are thrilled. This means they get to go to bars, gyms and other public places without the confinement of a mask.
The disregard of these Texans scares me. These Texans and the governor are endangering my grandparents, great-uncle and great-aunt. Their fresh air is not worth someone’s life.
Yet, the reasoning behind the governor’s decision is somewhat understandable. COVID-19 cases are on a downward trend, and there is now a vaccine. Optimism is rising, and we can almost envision days without the looming presence of the virus.
But to me, these advancements prove it even more necessary to wear a mask. The steady progress America has made toward wellness must be protected, but by lifting mask mandates, the progress could be pushed several steps back.
Science does not support lifting the mandates. Cities with a governmental policy enforcing masks have four times less of a per-capita COVID-19 mortality rate than cities that do not enforce mask laws, according to a study by Christopher T. Leffler, professor at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Just because there is a vaccine does not mean everyone is vaccinated. Only 18.8 percent of the U.S. population has actually received their first vaccination, and a slim 9.8 percent have had two complete doses, according to NPR.
In Texas, only 16.3 percent of the population has gotten their first shot, but 100 percent of the population can go maskless by Monday, March 10.
We need to reinstate COVID-19 safety measures. Texas, Mississippi, Iowa, North Dakota: I’m looking at you. Reinforcing these measures, especially mask mandates, will not derail America’s progress.
The quicker we revert back to having these safety measures in place, the quicker I will be comfortable with letting my grandparents visit the people they love.
Liza Cooper, sophomore, is the Co-Features editor for the 2020-2021 school year. This is her first semester on staff. Liza loves to travel, take pictures,...