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The Importance of Wearing Face Mask During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1181

Essay

Introduction

The 1918 flu pandemic is the most devastating event in human history. However, when we thought we were out of the woods, a new deadly flu outbreak named COVID-19 was reported almost a century later. It has been a global health concern since its outbreak in 2019, affecting every continent and individuals globally. According to WHO (Par. 1), there are an estimated 486,761,597 COVID-19 cases globally, with a reported 6,142,735 deaths as of 2022. In addition, nearly 11,054,362,790 vaccine doses have been distributed and administered worldwide (WHO, Par. 1). Europe and the Americas were the most affected regions accounting for more than half of the cases, with 202,693,049 and 150,709,372 confirmed cases, respectively. On the other hand, Africa was the least affected with 8, 580,381 confirmed cases.

But why the huge difference? It has not been adequately proven, but it is understood that adherence to safety measures as outlined by CDC guidelines and the WHO played a critical role in reducing the number of confirmed and mortality cases. Several hygiene and public health measures were introduced, with wearing face masks as the most noticeable measure. The paper explores the importance of wearing face masks and adherence to CDC guidelines.

Discussion

Although the number of confirmed cases and deaths have drastically reduced, most people are still exposed to COVID risk because of reluctance to adhere to safety measures, more so wearing of face mask. Social constructions of COVID-19 and personal opinions on the same have influenced wearing masks. Martinelli et al. (p. 2) note that some of the common factor influencing the wearing of face mask is our apparent perception; for example, face masks are often associated with Asian countries and is uncommon in Europe. Even though that might be the case, sufficient empirical evidence shows that wearing face masks reduces the risk of contracting COVID-19 significantly. So far, there is no scientific evidence that links the severity of COVID to biological factors such as race; hence it is essential to wear masks regardless of the location or culture since the disease does not recognize race or physical boundaries.

Wearing a mask in public places is a safety measure that protects individuals and those around them. Proper covering of the nose and mouth helps prevent the spread and contraction of the disease in open spaces. In addition, the disease is air-bone and affects the respiratory system; hence without a mask, a large number of individuals, especially in a gathering, are susceptible. Therefore, mask-wearing is supposed to be both a personal and social responsibility to protect those we love and around us. Above all, trusting information from recognized health bodies such as the CDC and WHO can be an effective tool in promoting mask-wearing and preventing COVID-19 as their intervention are clinically proven. Essentially, wearing a mask is the most effective way of combating the pandemic when compliance is high.

According to CDC (Par. 7), wearing masks prevent the asymptomatic spread of the COVID virus. The organization further notes that almost half of COVID infections happen at the asymptomatic stage. In this case, covering the mouth and nose correctly assists greatly in reducing viral transmission. It is similarly worth noting that washing hands using soap or application of sanitizer before putting on a mask is essential. It helps minimize the risk of spreading the virus unknowingly to oneself or others. Here, a mask is as important as social distancing and washing of hands when in close contact, thus protecting others and oneself from the virus. Howard et al. (p. 9) assets that combining face mask-wearing with other interventions such as contact tracing, mass testing, washing of hands, and physical distancing can effectively and greatly reduce the spread of the virus. Furthermore, some countries, including several states in the US, have made mask-wearing mandatory in public. Therefore, one risks legal consequences if not adhering to the laws.

After the widespread of the virus, it was noted that there were people who were more susceptible to the disease than others and were referred to as the high-risk population. The population consisted of people with underlying or chronic medical conditions, which contributed to the severity of COVID-19, leading to hospitalization, need for intensive care or ventilators, and, at worst, death. In this scenario, it is vital to protect this population as it comprises our family, friends, and neighbors. In particular, older people above 65 years are often considered the high-risk population since over 81% of COVID-19 deaths are associated with the group. The percentage reflected is said to be 97 times higher compared to deaths occurring in people between 18 and 29 years (CDC, Par 1). In addition to the specific protective measures advocated by global health organizations, wearing masks contributes immensely to protecting this population. As noted, most of the infections occur at the asymptomatic stage because it is difficult to detect symptoms. Also, COVID-19 is a viral disease and easily spreads through air droplets. Hence, having protective face masks can save lives in two ways; for those affected and those infected.

Most importantly, the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines does not eliminate the need to wear masks. Even though the vaccines may have a greater impact in combating the pandemic, there is still no concrete evidence concerning the likely hood of vaccinated individuals transmitting the virus to others (Barker, Par. 9). Additionally, he notes that it may take time to achieve herd immunity; thus, it is still vital to continue wearing masks as more research is dedicated to evaluating the full efficacy of the vaccines. Moreover, children are not yet eligible to receive vaccines; therefore, vital to keep wearing masks while observing the guidelines provided.

Conclusion

COVID-19 has ravaged the world since its emergence in 2019. It has led to the loss of lives, disruptions in various economic and education sectors, and also loss of livelihoods. Millions of people are now exposed to the risk of poverty, which may escalate over time. World health bodies such as WHO and CDC have made great strides in promoting awareness and preventive measures related to COVID-19. Therefore, it takes our collective effort and collaboration to overcome the pandemic and save lives. Wearing face masks is the simplest protective measure with huge significance. Face masks are attributed to reducing COVID-19 infection in asymptomatic by nearly half. Moreover, it can be used as an effective tool for protecting the high-risk population when exposed to vulnerable environments such as crowds. As much as wearing face masks, including other preventive measures, are essential in preventing COVID-19, it takes both personal and social responsibility to defeat the virus. Moreover, it has been proven that higher compliance with wearing face masks can greatly reduce the spread of the virus.

Works Cited

WHO. Global Situation (2022). Retrieved from https://covid19.who.int/

CDC. COVID-19 Pandemic Planning Scenarios (2021). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/planning-scenarios.html

CDC. People with Certain Medical Conditions (2022). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/people-with-medical-conditions.html#:~:text=Older%20adults%20are%20at%20highest,people%20ages%2018%2D29%20years.

Barker. J. What’s the difference between the COVID-19 vaccines? (2020). Retrieved from https://answers.childrenshospital.org/covid-19-vaccines-differences/

Howard, J. et al. “An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118.4 (2021).

Martinelli. L. et al. “Face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic: a simple protection tool with many meanings.” Frontiers in Public Health (2021): 947.

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