December 31, 2019 was the date of the first ever recorded COVID-19 case worldwide. On January 20th, 2020, the United States recorded the nation’s first case of COVID-19. Four days laters, January 24th, Illinois had its first COVID-19 case. About two months later on March 13th, Glenbard West High School closed due to COVID-19 parameters set by the state government. While most students believed they would be back soon to finish the year, the virus spread more rapidly than anyone had anticipated, effectively replacing in-person classes with online learning.
With the absence of a vaccine for the coronavirus, there are only a couple methods medical professionals provide to attempt to prevent infection. Knowing that the virus mainly spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets, the main technique to prevent transferring the virus via breathing, sneezing, and coughing is to cover your mouth and nose with a face mask. From the University of California San Francisco article “Still Confused About Masks? Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus,” “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,” explains researcher and author Nina Bai. She confirms that face masks can prevent COVID-19 because they block the main way the virus is spread from person to person.
Thirty two U.S. states require face masks while out in public or when entering indoor businesses. Mandating masks in more than half of U.S. states is a big factor of controlling the spread. Although masks do not totally eliminate the chances of becoming infected with the COVID-19, they substantially decrease the spread. From the article “Still Confused About Masks? Here’s the Science Behind How Face Masks Prevent Coronavirus” it has been proven through comparison of data that “mask mandates led to a slowdown in daily COVID-19 growth rate.?. The positive impact of wearing a mask grows slowly, but surely, as more states are mandating masks.
Many people might be perplexed by the wide array of these masks available; there are many different kinds of face masks that you can wear to prevent COVID-19. However, some are more protective than others. There are cloth masks, surgical masks, N95 masks, the list goes on. The cloth masks are the most common and popular; they are worn to protect in casual instances and when around friends or groups of people (six feet apart of course). On the flip side, surgical masks are loose fitting and disposable. Despite the drawbacks of being disposable, they are more protective than cloth masks, with the ability to filter out large particles in the air. Finally, the N95 masks are extremely protective. They protect and filter out both large and small particles in the air. These are often worn by doctors and those with medical diseases that are more susceptible to COVID-19.
Although there are some people both in the U.S. and worldwide who do not believe in wearing masks, it has been scientifically proven through many studies and experiments that wearing a face covering aids in preventing the spread of the virus. In contrast, “Anti-maskers” draw a parallel to anti-vaccine parents in their disregard to modern science and generally believed health standards for personal means of protecting oneself from disease. In the end, those on the frontlines have made it pretty clear: wear a mask and save a life.