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A Balanced Argument For The Use Of Facemasks

Primarily because of the outbreak of COVID-19, face masks and their usefulness has come into question. While there is no definitive research or studies that show face masks can help prevent the spread of a virus, there are ways a face mask can help even if it's not about limiting the transmission of the virus through the air itself. Below, we will be going over some of the things a face mask can do to limit the spread of a virus and some counterarguments to be made for wearing one.

How A Face Mask Can Help and Counter Arguments: 

1. Limits Exposure To Asymptomatic Individuals

Those that might be infected but not even know it are likely to spread the disease because they aren't taking the same precautions as those that know they have something. By having everyone wear face masks, it can keep their faces covered and limit the amount they end up touching their face. This alone is going to prove to be beneficial because it is said that asymptomatic individuals can and do transmit COVID-19. Therefore, simply having everyone wear something that covers the face can help minimise the chances asymptomatic individuals spread it rapidly. 

2. Limit The Touching One One's Face

It is said that the average person ends up touching their own face many times throughout the course of each day without even knowing it. A face mask is going to help by reducing the total amount of time someone touches their own face which is going to inherently provide benefits to the spreading of a virus. The more someone touches their face, the more likely they are not only to get the virus but also to spread it. Therefore, simply having everyone wear a face mask can in theory help to minimise the spread of the virus by helping one remain as aware as possible of limiting the touching of their own face. 

3. Keeps People More Aware

A lot of people do not take pandemics like this seriously because the virus is silent and it's invisible. Because of this, they don't have anything tangible that can keep the virus on their mind at all times. By forcing everyone to wear masks, you are reinforcing in their own heads that there is real danger outside whether you see it or not. The masks are a constant reminder to be careful while you are out and about. This alone might be reason enough to consider having everyone wear masks because it is much more likely someone will take things seriously when they see everyone around wearing a mask. It paints a much more clear picture which is likely to help people remember that they must be careful.

4. Spreads From Talking

One of the scariest things about COVID-19 and other viruses like it is the fact that it can spread with something as simple as talking to someone. By wearing a mask, you are much more likely to present more barriers to allow the virus from spreading because each person will have their mouths covered. Likewise, you are much more likely going to adhere to the social distancing recommendations because you have a tangible reminder with your mask that there is a virus you need to account for.

The Counter Arguments To Wearing Face Masks 

1. Must Be Worn Properly

One of the biggest things hindering the effectiveness of face masks is the education surrounding them. Not many people are aware of how to wear a face mask. Because of this, their effectiveness is diminished significantly. For some, it might diminish their effectiveness entirely. Whether it be wearing them upside down, not tightening them enough, or otherwise. A face mask must be worn the right way to work.

2. The Right Type Is Needed

The availability of face masks during an outbreak like COVID-19 puts a major stress on the supply chain. As a result, the real people on the front lines who actually need them more than everyone else aren't able to get them. Because of this, they are exposing themselves every single day to the virus by helping sick and infected people. Not having the right type of mask limits the effectiveness of the mask and it puts major constraints on the supply chain by asking everyone to wear one on a daily basis. To have any kind of positive effect with masks, there has to be above a 50 per cent compliance rating within the population which is not likely to happen without putting major strains on the supply chain. 

3. Lack Of Evidence

As mentioned, one of the biggest arguments against wearing face masks is the lack of evidence. While there is no clear-cut evidence pointing towards face masks being capable of limiting the spread of a pandemic, it can still be effective in other ways even if it doesn't directly do that.

Overall, the debate about whether or not face masks help during a pandemic is expected to continue for a long time. The problem is, there is no major evidence supporting it either way. That being said, there are side benefits associated with having people wear face masks to limit the spread and transmission of the virus including minimising face touching and reducing the chances asymptomatic people spread the virus. Because of this, it is certainly worthwhile to have the population look to cover their faces as much as possible not only to limit exposure to the virus but also to help one recognize the severity of the situation and to ensure everyone remains as aware as they can that there is a deadly virus going around.

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