One Mask Hurrah: Part Two


Caitlin Bailey, Journalist

219 million people worldwide have gotten COVID-19, and out of that total, 4 million people have died from it. This might not seem like a big deal to some since 215 million people recovered from the virus, but that is—with all due respect—a privileged mindset. 


Personally, I’ve known people who have died from COVID-19. It crushed families and friends, brutally ripping a piece from them that they can never get back. 


Usually those that are anti-mask or anti-vax, I find, haven’t lost or known someone who’s lost someone due to COVID. While I’m so glad that they haven’t had to go through that kind of pain, for I wouldn’t wish that heartbreak on anyone, it speaks of privilege that 4 million families can’t get back. 


4 million people and counting have experienced that loss in less than two years. 4 million people. Which is why, though I am fully vaccinated, I still wear my mask. I don’t think I could bear being the reason an immunocompromised person ends up in the hospital or dies. I understand that masks are uncomfortable and a nuisance, but relatively, does that matter in the grand scheme of things? Does comfort matter in a life or death situation? 


Even if you won’t be that affected by getting the virus, it’s not just about you, you know? You could unknowingly pass on the virus to others. Wearing a mask has been shown to significantly lower the risk of spreading the virus.


Though there were some preachers of herd immunity—which is the mindset that if everyone gets the virus at the same time, then we as a society won’t really have to worry about it anymore—both scientists and hospital staff were blank against it. This is due to the fact that if everyone got COVID at the same time, hospital staff would become severely overwhelmed, which is pretty much exactly what happened in the spring and summer of 2020. There weren’t enough ventilators to go around and people were dying in droves. 


I got COVID in November 2020. Though clearly I’m fine now, I was one of the lucky ones. Others, however, weren’t so fortunate.


I play ice hockey, which is a high-intensity sport. Last year, some of my friends went to tournaments that required masks on the ice. Though it seems daunting, they still managed to do it and play well. It’s uncomfortable, but still possible. After all, there were countless teams in 2020 that weren’t allowed to participate in a tournament because their team was quarantined. Besides the life or death scenario, COVID also interrupts our extracurricular lives; thus, if we wear our masks, it lowers the chance that our and others’ lives will be disrupted.


Furthermore, I personally don’t think masks are even that much of a disruption in my daily life. I’ve worn a mask so much that it’s become a second skin, and when I’m wearing it, I know that I’m doing my part. 


We can’t all be Dr. Fauci, or the millions of healthcare workers and scientists that worked tirelessly to care for the sick or create a vaccine, but we can do our part by wearing a mask and social distancing as much as we can. 


The moral of the story is that sometimes it’s better to bite the bullet even if you don’t like the metallic taste, if it means that someone else is protected.