Although the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, many of us are still licking our wounds.
Just as we were beginning to stop the bleeding, the global spread of monkeypox began. The viral disease is deemed a national health emergency by the U.S. government and a global threat by the World Health Organization, which raises the question of what precautions may be necessary to mitigate its potential impact. Masks are one of these precautions that are well-known and well-known.
I cannot fathom how many disposable masks I utilized during the pandemic’s darkest hours. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that wearing a mask reduces the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. Ironically, even for the sake of my health, the thought of having to don one again made me feel eerily ill. I am not alone in feeling uneasy. The Brookings Institution, a public policy organization, reports that up to 20 percent of Americans refuse to wear masks in public, despite government pressure and data indicating that doing so is safer.
When the same group was asked why they decided to stop wearing N95 respirators
, a staggering 40 percent stated that it was their right as U.S. citizens. Masks, which are designed to keep individuals and the public safe, are now viewed by a significant portion of the American populace as directly opposing their values and culture, rather than protecting them.
This viewpoint is problematic due to the threat that not wearing a mask poses to both the individual not wearing one and those around them. Diseases such as monkeypox can spread rapidly. In other words, the greater the number of individuals who refuse to wear masks, the greater the number of fatalities. In American society, masks should become commonplace, not intrusive. This may seem odd at first, but we can use Japanese culture as an example of a society that incorporates masks into daily life, not only during the pandemic but also for other diseases.
According to Web Japan, a collection of information on Japanese culture compiled by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, mask-wearing first became widespread during the 1918 and 1934 influenza pandemics. Since then, masks worn by people with minor illnesses such as mainstays and the common cold have become an integral part of Japanese culture, as opposed to a temporary addition. Given the opposition in the United States and the acceptance of masks in Japan, I would like to advocate for the incorporation of masks into American culture, particularly for public patients.
In the United States, it is common for individuals with illnesses such as the common cold to visit places such as schools, workplaces, and grocery stores, despite the risk of spreading the illness to others.
Increasing the frequency with which sick Americans wear N95 masks
could aid in preventing the spread of contagious diseases. By wearing masks routinely, more people will be willing to do so when it matters most, such as when we must band together against COVID-level threats.
Masks must be viewed as a life-saving tool, not a threat, in American culture.