Why we should hold off on lifting the mask mandate

surgical masks - covid-19 mask mandate

Why we should hold off on lifting the mask mandate

By: Sahiti Kulkarni – 2021 Summer Intern

The COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed the world. This unexpected and deadly disease caught all of humanity off guard and has impacted the economy, businesses, families, and most importantly, lives. To be exact, 185,698,074 lives.

Ever since the first case was recorded in Wuhan, China on Dec. 31, 2019, the world has taken a hard hit. Local businesses had no choice but to shut down, unfortunately, leaving many without jobs and money. Many people were unable to visit small local businesses due to quarantine, and the result– thousands of businesses closed worldwide.

On the other hand, another damaging outcome from this horrific pandemic was its impact on the economy. With unemployment rates skyrocketing, our world’s economy took a hard hit. Everything stable in our society was shaken to the core.

However, with the mandate on masks and with everyone put in quarantine across the world, a difference was starting to be seen. Additionally, schools were shut down and unessential workers were forced to work from home. Fortunately, these actions helped in lowering the COVID cases around the globe.

Over a year later, after the creation of different COVID-19 vaccines, when there was finally hope to see an end to this pandemic, the mask mandate was lifted in many states across the country.

I strongly believe that we are still not ready to lift the mask mandate. With new variants taking over our communities and with only 48.5% of American’s fully vaccinated, society is not in a state to let go of something that has helped us so much during the coronavirus pandemic.

For proof of just how important wearing a mask is, in an article by the “University of California,” an experiment held by The University of Pennsylvania showed “. . . using high-speed video found that hundreds of droplets ranging from 20 to 500 micrometers were generated when saying a simple phrase, but that nearly all these droplets were blocked when the mouth was covered by a damp washcloth.”

This is just one out of many pieces of evidence that show the effectiveness of wearing a mask and how well it can protect us from the harm of different diseases.

I can understand how hard it is to have to wear a mask every time one goes out to shop, hang out with friends, etc., but we’ve done it for over a year now, and we are just going to have to continue to do so until we are sure that we are ready.

Once all of our population is fully vaccinated and society has taken the responsibility to keep themselves safe, then only can we pack our masks up.

Sahiti Kulkarni wrote this opinion piece while interning for the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg & PA Media Group. It was published here.