By Abbie Cornett
For many years, I was involved in politics. I have run for office, have drafted legislation and have been a member of both parties, and I lean toward conservative. So, I am serious when I say I have no idea how wearing a mask became a political issue.
For me, science and common sense do not have a political agenda. You might think I am picking on one party, but I'm not! I have friends on both sides of the political spectrum who are either not vaccinated or not wearing masks. In fact, one of them calls wearing a mask a sign that the United States is becoming a totalitarian society.
Wearing a mask is not a sign of a dystopian world! It is, however, the responsible thing to do for your health and those around you. The fact is that wearing a mask, getting vaccinated and taking other reasonable precautions such as social distancing and frequent handwashing reduces COVID-19 and the spread of all diseases.
So, let's all take a step back to pre-COVID-19, take the political rhetoric out of the issue and ask ourselves how we felt about masks before this pandemic. Did we expect that doctors' operating on us would wear a mask? When we saw medical professionals in a hot zone gloved, gowned and masked, did we think it helped protect them? I am guessing the answer is yes. The value of wearing a mask has not changed; only the perception has changed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends everyone, regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status, start wearing face masks indoors. This is particularly important now because of the increase in variants and the potential for breakthrough infections in vaccinated individuals.
I am not saying wearing a mask is the solution to COVID-19. They won't cure the virus, nor will they help us reach herd immunity. But they will help slow the spread of the disease and reduce the burden on our healthcare system.