wWith the Covid-19 pandemic having killed nearly half a million people worldwide, one would think that wearing a face mask to slow the spread of the disease and protecting more-vulnerable populations would be worth the minor inconvenience.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. As The Associated Press wrote, face masks have become the focus of the latest culture-war. One that’s being supported by Donald Trump.
Enter the anti masker.
What’s the definition of an anti-masker?
Wearing a mask or not wearing one can be seen as a political statement to certain populations of the United States. Through this, the anti-masker movement was born
An anti-masker is defined as a person who views the preventative health measure in the fight against the coronavirus as an assault on their freedom. Anti-maskers often insult those that choose to wear masks as mindless sheep.
No mask means more coronavirus
The efficacy of wearing masks against the coronavirus are still being researched with early reports saying “It’s better than doing nothing.” That’s good enough for the majority of the public, but maybe not good enough for others.
The good news is that recent studies have shown that masks are more effective than that.
That research have shown that wearing a mask reduces the risks of infection and those that don’t wear it are choosing to gamble with their lives as one would wager on Superbowl betting. The result of anti mask behavior is all but confirmed by the significant increase in coronavirus cases in Florida, Arizona and Texas — states that chose to “open” and had lax guidelines around wearing PPEs.
Even so the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone should be wearing masks – as do the governments covering 90% of the world’s population. We would rather listen to scientists, doctors and experts than those that just want to rebel.
“People value their freedoms,” said Steven Taylor, a clinical psychologist and author of ‘The Psychology of Pandemics.’. “They may become distressed or indignant or morally outraged when people are trying to encroach on their freedoms.”
This is true even in the face of measures that are there to protect them (not to mention others).
And unfortunately, anti mask movements aren’t new.
Who are these anti maskers anyway?
Anti maskers are quick to point out that it’s their “natural rights” to choose not to wear masks in public spaces. There’s no data on this, but the words and phrases that are often used to defend their right to not wear masks are pulled from from conservative talking points: “personal liberty,” “government overreaching,” “assault on freedom,” “individual rights,” and grade school declarations about “living in a free country.”
We think it’s safe to say that the vast majority of anti maskers are conservative, white Republicans and Trump supporters.
Despite American deaths piling up, Donald Trump continues to show little leadership on this matter. His lack of action early on in the pandemic allowed cases to rise. In the face of the massive spikes of coronavirus, he continued to downplay the virus and pitted states against the federal level.
Even with cases and deaths growing, particularly in states that followed Trump’s lead, Trump continues push the anti mask movement by not wearing them in public. This is true even when his closest staff have been infected and he continues to dismiss the need to wear masks.
Trump has said that wearing a mask would “send the wrong message.” Anti maskers agree. As video after video pops up online of anti maskers forcing their ways into stores requiring masks, purposely coughing, and swarming the state capitols. All without a mask.