Ever since the coronavirus pandemic broke out in March, the question of how individuals can protect themselves from it has been a popular topic. One of the most common answers is to socially distance and wear a face mask. This solution seems to be the best option, but even this safety measure has its flaws.
Face masks may help contribute to the declined spread of Covid-19, but the difference is only by about two percent, according to a research article on the Health Affairs website by Wei Lyu and George L. Wehby, members of the Department of Health Management for Iowa State University. This small difference does not compare with the increasing numbers of respiratory problems seen in individuals using face masks. However, these numbers are most likely lost in the confusion of Covid-19 cases and are therefore not given to the public accurately for them to determine the severity of the situation.
One of the biggest problems with the mask requirement is the effects of the extended use of masks. Masks have been worn since the beginning of the outbreak in March, but the lack of proper cleaning or reuse of a disposable mask is what causes the respiratory problems seen today. According to the CDC website, disposable masks should be used for no more than one day, and cloth masks should be washed after each daily use. While this seems like common knowledge, many people do not follow these guidelines and are then exposed to bacteria that is attracted to the mask, increasing their chances of getting the virus.
With Butler’s new requirement of face masks on campus, students who are unable to wear a mask due to respiratory issues are unable to attend classes on campus. While there is an online option, some of the affected students are unable to get the in-person interaction they need to learn, a reason why many students chose not to attend school this year. The lack of students attending college affects the income of the college. In other words, the mask requirement has caused significant problems for not only the people at Butler, but also the institution itself.
Even though Covid-19 has changed everything about how we now live, the requirement of masks is meant to benefit the general public by providing that extra precaution for those who are infected but do not know it yet that might increase the spread. However, without proper care and safety procedures, this mandate can prove to be ineffective or even detrimental to society unless it is taken seriously.