By Ariana Chace
President Biden strongly believes a mask mandate must be enforced in order to move forward and push this virus behind us. Within this mandate, people are ordered to wear masks on all forms of federal property. Reactions to this law have been deemed quite controversial considering the past actions and nearly polar views of former President Trump. An article from the New York Times regarding this new mandate acknowledges that due to the past actions of President Trump, many political figures, as well as citizens, now view mask-wearing as a political standpoint.
According to a poll taken by NBC News, Democrats are almost half as more likely to wear a mask than Republicans. This statistic reveals how the virus has been politicized. Although it has already been proven by many scientists and experts from the CDC that masks are not a substitute for social distancing, they can very much decrease the risk of being exposed to this detrimental virus. People now worry that if this mandate is even considered there will be a much greater divide in the country than there already is. Conversely, is a divide based on political opinions and beliefs enough justification for the country to remain with high numbers of cases and to continue fighting with this pandemic? Probably not.
Scientific evidence strongly displays that masks are the safer option; thus, it’s surprising that partisanship is influencing the government’s decision on passing the mask mandate. Unfortunately, this divide leaves the federal government in a very difficult position. Biden also emphasizes that people with roles and governmental positions should be required to wear a mask. By ordering a political figure who may not support Democrats or Biden to wear a mask, this will demonstrate that they do follow Biden’s guidelines.
This could all in the long run also reduce the overall divide that even affected things like voting. It was seen several times during the election process that Trump continuously mocked Joe Biden for choosing to wear a mask in certain gatherings and around certain people. This is another reason why many Republicans are convinced that masks are seen as something that is labeled as more ‘Democratic.’ A study conducted by the University of Washington’s School of Medicine stated: “If only 85% wore masks, nearly 96,000 deaths could be prevented…” This mandate would take place nationwide. Biden especially sees the importance in some places as well. He tells CNN, “If you’re on federal land, you must wear a mask. In a federal building, you must wear a mask. And we could have a fine for them not doing it.” Overall, Biden has promised us when he became president to act very quickly in terms of the nation’s current biggest problem: COVID-19.
To follow up with his promise and his plan would include the mask mandate. This can significantly help people save so many lives. Also, a mask mandate will help people who struggle every day as health care workers. This mandate will help combat this careless thinking and push us forward, helping us to see this virus as part of our history. Are 102 million cases and over 240,000 deaths not enough for people to believe that this virus is dangerous?