Few things bother Americans more than infringements on their Freedom. Freedom is the God-given right of Americans: go spend a day at the beach, go shopping, go to the movie theater, go to work, or go visit one’s family. But all these have changed with the recent COVID-19 pandemic.
First, people are told that they have to stay at home or “Shelter-in-Place”. Then they are told that they have to wear masks. Shelter-in-Place means you are not allowed to leave the house and do those things that you are supposed to be free to do. This restriction absolutely infringes upon your freedom of movement and freedom of assembly.
Masking is even more personal — you have to wear this cloth or filter material that covers half your face. It’s definitely uncomfortable. This makes it much harder to breathe, especially in hot weather, when walking or exercising. Some argue that you would breathe in the bad carbon dioxide that you exhale, which is unhealthy. If you wear glasses, it fogs up the lens in seconds. In addition, masks are getting expensive, as the prices have risen and most stores have a hard time stocking enough of them. And on top of that, how could a democratic government tell Americans what to wear? What kind of country has this become?
President Trump has called COVID many names — it’s from China, it’s just a flu, it’s a hoax by liberals or Democrats to help Biden. For months, he has steadfastly refused to wear a mask. So why did he finally put on a mask himself when visiting the Walter Reed Hospital?
The truth of the matter is that the COVID virus is very different and extremely contagious: it can be transmitted by people carrying the virus without any symptoms. It is airborne, meaning that it can transmit invisibly in midair. We’ve all heard of washing our hands for 30 seconds, or maintaining 6-feet social distancing. But it turns out the most important thing everyone can do to stop the transmission of this dangerous and often deadly virus is wearing a mask.
In places like Hong Kong, where the population density is very high — with 7.5 million people living in skyscrapers similar to the ones in Manhattan — most people use public transportation daily, and social distancing basically is difficult. Many people probably do wash their hands, but certainly not everyone. And yet, since February, there have been only 6 confirmed deaths linked to COVID in Hong Kong. That literally is less than one in a million. Compare this to the latest hot spots — far less dense or populous — in America: Hot Springs, Arkansas’s rate is over 21,500 deaths per million; while many small Texas towns such as Scurry, Crockett, Anderson, and Val Verde have an equivalent rate of over 15,000 deaths per million.
How is that possible?
The biggest difference is that 99% of Hong Kong residents wear masks. They wear masks outdoors, while riding buses and subway trains, and they wear masks indoors, at malls and at work. Aside from the mask-wearing, life has actually been quite normal in Hong Kong throughout this time without the government ordering Shelter-in-Place.
Goldman Sachs recently released a study showing that mandatory mask-wearing by every American can save the United States GDP by 5%, because if everyone wears a mask, less Shelter-in-Place restrictions would be necessary, allowing the American economy to be reopened.1 Meanwhile, another fascinating story has emerged: at a Missouri hair salon, where two stylists, unbeknownst to themselves, contracted the COVID virus, neither their coworkers nor their 139 clients were infected, simply because everyone was wearing masks despite their close proximity.2
Based on what we have learned in the last few months, not wearing masks is not about freedom; it’s really inconsiderate, reckless, and deadly. Wearing masks is the fastest path to reopening our economy and bringing our freedoms back. While different politicians are still dithering over whether or not to mandate mask-wearing, it’s time to put factually-based statistics and science above politics.
Just wear masks and let us get back to our daily freedoms.