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A Still Much-Debated Two-Year-Old Question

By: Ray Zhao

Yesterday, when I was trying hard to find some graph paper at Staples, I heard two parents arguing about whether to buy masks or not for the next school year. It was a heated debate that lasted almost five minutes. While you might think that two bickering parents at a store isn’t something we should care about, we must remember that the relevance of their debate can be extrapolated to the national level, as the need for masks is still in question.

Officials like Dr. Fauci and organizations like CDC and WHO, after changing their policies many times already, currently recommend masks for the public, though the WHO advises against masking young children. Some scientists have announced their support for masks, while others have voiced opposition. The top doctors have been contradicting each other and flip-flopping on their policies, so the public is more than a little confused. So, should we wear masks or not?

While people do have the right to choose whether to wear a mask or not, there is a dark side to mask-wearing, so they shouldn’t be required in daycares and schools. It is common knowledge that wearing a mask can stop, or at least slow the spread of the coronavirus, but to the ones not under very much risk, it might be helpful to remember that there are some cons to wearing a mask.

Wearing a mask can deter a child’s ability to learn about language, motions, and expressions. A vital part of learning to communicate for a small child is watching the faces, mouths, and facial expressions of the people closest to them. However, that is not possible when those people are wearing masks.

Wearing masks may also interfere with a child’s play, exercise tolerance, and socialization, reports The Atlantic, which also asks the rhetorical question, “And for what gain?”

As if this wasn’t a terrible enough consequence, there is a third consequence: immune system failures due to masking. From early on in life, humans will access many bacteria, germs, and viruses. Access to these means that the child will have antibodies to fight the bacteria, germs, and viruses if they come up again. Wearing a mask strips away all these opportunities. Some even hypothesize that masking can damage your respiratory immune system, as mechanisms that stop viruses will stop working correctly with a mask.

Of course, there are some reasons to wear a mask. Some people who must contact dozens of people might want to wear a mask to prevent the spread of COVID, and others near the elderly and risky may want to consider it too. Some people may say that masking everywhere decreases the spread of COVID and other germs. While that statement is true, for most, especially in schools, the risk of catching COVID, much less getting some severe COVID, is almost “statistically zero.” Plus, the above-mentioned side-effects of masks severely outweigh any benefits they might bring to the wearer.

In conclusion, while wearing a mask protects you from COVID and other viruses, it also has many harmful aspects. Will you wear a mask or not? It’s up to you, but please remember to not be judgmental – it’s their choice, not yours!

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