We Need a Federal Mask Mandate, And We Need It Now

It’s Time To Get Our Sh*t Together, America, And That Means A Federal Mask Mandate

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Lyubov Ivanova/Getty

America, we need to talk.

As of today, over 4.3 MILLION US citizens have contracted COVID-19, and over 150,000 people have died from it. And yet, there’s still an embarrassing multitude of folks who can’t seem to find a compelling enough reason to wear a face mask. You’d think that human lives being demolished in droves would be more than enough to soften even the most obstinate “maskhole.” And yet, a whole lot of grown adults who are physically capable of being the team player we desperately need are still finding so many justifications for not sticking a mask on. We’ve even got racist a-holes like Arizona councilman Guy Phillips invoking the final words of George Floyd when he said “I can’t breathe” at a recent anti-mask rally. Because apparently, some Americans out there believe that being ordered to put on a face covering during a global freaking pandemic is as much of a crime against humanity as racially charged police brutality is. 

We have got to get our shit together, America — and we need to do it sooner rather than later. In fact, we really really really need a federal mask mandate that pressures even the anti-vaxxers, conspiracy theorists, and essential oil peddlers to actually give a damn about the health and well-being of our fellow Americans. Whether you want to rail against the seeming “injustice” of being required to wear a face mask or not, you have basically become a public health hazard by not doing it. And if we want a fighting chance of beating this Goliath of a virus, face masks need to not only be encouraged, but mandated. 

At the local level, a growing amount of state officials are thankfully stepping up to the plate and declaring mask mandates for all of their residents. Even Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson, a leader who has been annoyingly flip-flopping on the issue, has recently gone on record defending his decision to make mask-wearing mandatory in Arkansas. While Trump is considering requirements for face masks in federal buildings nationwide and is also assuredly feeling the heat to create a federal mask mandate from officials like Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and presidential hopeful Joe Biden, he does not seem to be budging on his stance against one. Which means he’s also ignoring 79% of American voters who would support a federal mask mandate if it was instituted. And that is one of the bajillion reasons why Donald Trump is on my lifelong shit list. 

The truth is that if Trump had gotten his act together and declared a federal mask mandate when the CDC implored Americans to wear masks and socially distance, we wouldn’t be finding ourselves in this complete COVID-19 shitstorm in the first place. But if you think that our self-serving kumquat of a president is the only justifiable reason for why we’re at this bleak point, then you are sadly missing a key part of this equation. U.S. citizens have been generously informed by enough doctors and scientists who know what they’re doing to wear a face mask in public because it has the very real potential to save lives. If you are physically capable of wearing a face mask and have chosen not to by now, then this means that you — yes, you — are a part of the problem. 

If you still consider yourself to be in the anti-mask camp because you think they’re totally wackadoodle, you aren’t alone. Based on the sheer amount of unnecessary and preventable deaths we’re continuing to witness, there are many Karens and Kens who agree with you. Maybe you feel threatened by the (grossly selfish) assumption that your personal rights and freedoms are being stolen away from you or that this pesky coronavirus is some liberal hoax. Perhaps you fervently believe that you will be divinely protected from getting sick, or that the fabric is just too damn itchy and uncomfortable for you to put over your face and nose holes. Or maybe you just don’t like being told what to do. 

But do you know what’s way more fucked up than being urged to wear a face mask for the greater good? The greater good rapidly dying from a global pandemic that we could have prevented — and can continue to prevent — from spreading like wildfire. 

Don’t believe me on the power of face masks? Then check out this recent study published in Health Affairs that compared COVID-19 growth rates before and after mask mandates were instituted in at least fifteen U.S. states. Not so shockingly enough, the study found that state mask mandates led to a slow down of COVID-19 which became evident over time. 

Need more convincing? Then consider this for a hot second. When a doctor feels the need to take time away from saving lives to pile six freaking masks onto his face to prove that oxygen levels remain the same in them, then maybe it’s time to start believing the scientists and medical professionals. And when our current commander-in-chief who usually parades around as the ultimate Veruca Salt of our time finally abandons his ridiculously endangering anti-mask stance and tweets about how “patriotic” it is to wear one while quite literally donning a face covering himself, you can assume you’re in the middle of an actual fucking wake up call. 

I sure hope the president comes to his senses on this one thing, and finally institutes the national mask mandate our country desperately needs. But even if he doesn’t, we have got to step up our individual and collective game. For the love of humanity, please stop being a part of the problem.  Just wear a damn mask, quit being racist, and turn off Plandemic before your brain turns to fudge.