Opinion: The fault of ending the mask mandate

Olivia+Davenport

Olivia Davenport

Olivia Davenport, Staff Writer

There are many contrasting opinions after Texas Governor Greg Abbott recently lifted the statewide mask mandate. While it would be fantastic for everything to go back to the way it was prior to COVID-19, it is not practical just yet. The end of the mask mandate was reckless and was put into action prematurely.

According to the CDC, there have been 504,803 COVID-19 related deaths as of March 10. While the flu has taken more lives than coronavirus, it has been around much longer than COVID. Many also tend to argue that lots of people have pre-existing conditions that are the ‘real cause’ of death, but the contraction of coronavirus worsens the situation, possibly taking years of a life to be lived with a preexisting condition.

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has been a huge success in our country, with Pfizer-BioNTech at a 95 percent success rate, Moderna at a 94 percent success rate and Jansen at a 66 percent success rate, according to TIME. A success rate, as defined by Medical News Today, is the percent of reduction in new cases of the virus in a vaccine group compared to a placebo group. While I fully support mass vaccination in the country, masks still must be worn. According to the New York Times, only 8.3 percent of Texans have received any form of vaccine, as of March 9. A greater amount of the population needs to receive the vaccine, so we can further prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

Herd immunity, as defined by the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC), occurs when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease, making the spread of this disease from person to person unlikely. To reach herd immunity, a certain  percentage of the population must be vaccinated. For example, the  percentage of the population vaccinated to reach herd immunity against measles is 95 percent and for polio it is 80 percent. While there is not a definite amount, we can assume it is a high number, much higher than the current quantity.

Of course, those who want to continue to wear masks can still do so, it is not nearly as effective as if every party present in an area wears a mask. For example, if two people are standing three feet apart and both sneeze, the other person’s germs will get on each of them. If one person wears a mask and the other doesn’t, the person without the mask will be almost 100 percent safe from the other person’s sneeze, as it will be contained with the mask. The one wearing the mask, however, will still get the other person’s germs on them, almost fully. If both parties wear a mask, both sneezes will be contained, keeping each other safe.

Please remember that businesses can still refuse service if you refuse to wear a mask. Respect the wishes of the employees and managers of businesses. Make the conscious decision to keep others safe.