As COVID-19 cases in California, especially in Los Angeles County, rise, taking precautions such as wearing a mask, social distancing and avoiding unnecessary gatherings are crucial. (Illustration by Gabrielle Lashley)

Opinion

Opinion: Wearing masks and staying home saves lives

Daily coronavirus cases are on the rise and many Americans haven’t been taking the precautions they need to keep them and their family members safe. It is time people start taking this pandemic seriously and recognize the danger we are in. Coronavirus cases are at the highest they’ve ever been in the United States, and…
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/gabriellelashley01/" target="_self">Gabrielle Lashley</a>

Gabrielle Lashley

December 11, 2020

Daily coronavirus cases are on the rise and many Americans haven’t been taking the precautions they need to keep them and their family members safe. It is time people start taking this pandemic seriously and recognize the danger we are in.

Coronavirus cases are at the highest they’ve ever been in the United States, and some Americans still don’t seem to see the danger in not taking precautions to stay safe. As of December 9, we’ve reached 475,000 cases in just Los Angeles County. There are several reasons why you should wear a mask, but many people seem to be ignoring the main one: to stop the spread of COVID-19.

According to Health.com, wearing a mask can reduce viral transmissions of the coronavirus by up to 70%. According to another article released by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, if the 88% of people who usually wear masks rose to 95%, it could save nearly 100,000 lives from now until January 2021.

People still refuse to acknowledge the importance of wearing a mask, even after more than 200,000 Americans have died from this virus. Thousands of lives can be saved by you doing the bare minimum and simply wearing protection.

Besides not wearing a mask, just going out to eat, to parties, to unnecessary trips and to general social gatherings, other than the people you live with, can be very harmful.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you are automatically at higher risk of getting coronavirus, or spreading it for that matter, if you travel. The same applies to social gatherings and restaurants.

Being around a large number of people for an extended amount of time will put you and the people around you at risk of getting infected. The least you can do is wear a mask at all times and wash your hands.

Taking precautions such as social distancing, wearing facial protection, and avoiding unnecessary outings are very helpful to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

An article released by Health.com states that wearing a mask reduces viral transmission and prevents asymptomatic spread. In another article released by The University of Texas MD Anderson, it was reported that COVID-19 cases heavily reduced when social distancing policies were established.

For example, new cases reduced by 65% in 46 states after said policies were put in place. Despite this, cases are rising again. There is a simple solution to reducing coronavirus cases throughout the U.S and that is being aware of what you and others are at risk of and taking precautions accordingly.

It is not as difficult as many people are making it out to be.

Though it is understandable to want to go outside after being quarantined for nearly nine months now, it is not understandable to claim that wearing a mask is a risk to one’s health when you simply don’t want to wear one.

According to an article by The New York Times, some people who do not wish to wear masks have been going as far as buying fraudulent cards that claim the holder is not required to wear a mask due to health reasons. The cards, unsurprisingly, are fake.

Some believe that mask mandates are harmful, a violation of human rights and that wearing them is a political standpoint. Wearing a mask during a global pandemic should never be seen as a political statement. It is not a matter of politics. It is a matter of public safety that an unreasonable amount of people are not taking it seriously.

There’s a very straightforward solution to reducing the number of COVID-19 cases: wear a mask at all times when outside of a safe, enclosed environment. Avoid social gatherings with those who are not included in your home unit and do not go on any trips, for your safety and those around you.

It’s as simple as that.

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