The debate over the necessity of masks has been a large part of the chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic that has been ruling the lives of many Americans since March.

On the Center for Disease Control’s website (July 31), director Dr. Robert R. Redfield wrote about the importance of masks from a medical perspective. “We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” Redfield said. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus – particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families and their communities.”

Many places in the United States have mask mandates that require people to wear masks in public places as safety tools to protect themselves and others.

Dr. David Donaldson, an emergency medicine specialist at Beaumont Hospital, sees the effects of COVID-19 first hand.

“I believe that people resist wearing masks because it restricts their freedom to do as they choose,” Donaldson said. “I look at it as similar to wearing a seatbelt or not smoking in public. I personally look forward to the day when we no longer have to wear a mask, but I do feel that for the greater good we should each do our part.”

Proponents consider masks a courtesy and wear one to make other people feel comfortable and safe, because the main function of a mask is to protect. Opponents find masks restrictive.

“I wear a mask to protect myself as well as the people around me, from COVID-19,” Lily Michels ’23 said. “I think it is very important to try our best to keep everyone healthy. With my experience working in a retirement home, working with the elderly who are all high risk is really scary during this pandemic because the virus can spread like wild fire even with one case. So, making sure I keep myself healthy for them just makes it super important to me.”

People have to weigh if discomfort or the loss of a freedom is worth potentially saving a life. It comes down to each personal choice.

“I do wear a mask,” Angelina Toma ’22 said. “I believe that it is extremely important to protect my own health, as well as other’s. Trying to save someone from something unsafe has no negative outcomes. Everyone should wear a mask.”