Let’s start with a point of agreement: No one wants to be wearing a mask.
They steam up your glasses and give you an unpleasant reminder of your last meal. They’re hot and might even give you a rash. They inhibit eating and drinking and can make it hard to communicate.
Still, here’s another point about masks we ought to agree on: With few exceptions, we all must wear them.
Not should — must.
If you don’t agree, then your mental wheels are already turning, coming up with reasons why you don’t need to — can’t be made to — wear a mask.
There aren’t any. Here’s why.
It’s unconstitutional. Being made to wear a mask isn’t an infringement on any right you may think you have.
There’s nothing in the U.S. Constitution about masks, which means that the 10th Amendment is triggered. It provides, simply stated, that powers not given to the federal government are reserved to the states.
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that those reserved powers include the authority to deal with public health emergencies — like smallpox. Google Jacobson v. Massachusetts, upholding mandatory vaccination in 1905.
It’s discrimination. Being mask-free isn’t a protected status and private businesses generally have the power to regulate who has access to their property.
I have a health issue/disability. The Americans With Disabilities Act protects people with actual disabilities. Not liking a mask isn’t one.
And even people with a disability aren’t necessarily excused from wearing a mask, if another accommodation is available.
A business owner still can deny services if an accommodation would pose a risk to other customers.
Respiratory problems generally aren’t a disability that needs accommodation, either.
Wearing a mask is harmful. The American Lung Association studied this and found “there is no evidence that low oxygen levels occur” and that there is “absolutely no scientific evidence that mask wearing or physical distancing weakens the immune system.”
Consult your doctor about any respiratory issues you may have.
Masks are useless. That’s not what the science says, unless you’re cherry-picking from anti-mask sources.
The consensus among doctors and scientists is that wearing a cloth mask reduces your risk of transmitting or catching COVID-19 by 50% or more. You’d take those odds with virtually any risk.
I had a negative test. That means you were COVID-19-free when the sample was taken. You could have contracted it at any time since then and, if asymptomatic, passed it along to whoever you came into contact with — strangers, neighbors, friends, relatives.
I’m young and healthy, so I won’t get real sick. Maybe. But one of the first deaths in the county was a 28-year-old. People as young as 19 have been hospitalized.
The “experts” keep changing their minds. At first people were told they didn’t need to wear a mask, partly to preserve supplies for professionals but also because scientists were still learning about how the disease is transmitted.
Knowledge has improved significantly since then, so the advice has changed. That’s how science works. Otherwise, we’d be bleeding people to try to cure them of COVID-19.
As cases continue to mount — a record of more than 15,000 new infections Sunday — the alternative to a mask may not be no mask. It may be another lockdown.
If you didn’t like the first one, wear a mask.