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               Kaylee Smith
          Snow College Student

 

Please try a little harder

to wear a mask

 

12-23-2020

 

 

I walked into Walmart and was greeted by signs saying, “Wear a mask.” My first thought was, “Awesome! Go Walmart!” I was relieved that they were taking precautions seriously. But as I ventured further into the store, my faith in Walmart began to dwindle.

Everywhere I looked I saw people who were not wearing a mask. This was even after our governor announced a statewide mask mandate. The saddest case was when I was waiting in line at the pharmacy. The man in front was much older than me and had an oxygen tank with him. Due to his old age and oxygen tank he is high risk, and yet the man behind him still did not put on a mask.

I was heartbroken to see that a simple act of service was thrown aside for someone’s comfort. Was it just too inconvenient for them to put on a mask?

I have heard the argument many times that masks make it hard to breathe or they just don’t work. Well, here are some facts that suggest otherwise.

“Two compelling case reports also suggest that masks can prevent transmission in high-risk scenarios,” according to two researchers from the University of California at San Francisco. In one case, a man flew from China to Toronto and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19. He had a dry cough and wore a mask on the flight, and all 25 people closest to him on the flight tested negative for COVID-19.

In another case, in late May, two hair stylists in Missouri had close contact with 140 clients while sick with COVID-19. Everyone wore a mask and none of the clients tested positive.

These are not the only cases where masks have protected people from COVID-19. The job of masks is to protect those around us. It is an act of kindness to wear one. I ask the question: Can we as a community try a little harder to be kind? Can we wear a mask for those around us who are high risk?

Even if you don’t know anyone who is high risk, will you wear a mask to be kind? Even if it is a little inconvenient for you? We never truly know others’ battles but we can always try a little harder to make their days a bit easier.

 

Kaylee Smith is from North Salt Lake, where she was a vocal sterling scholar and graduated with honors from Woods Cross High School. She is a freshman at Snow College and is studying vocal performance, specifically opera. She loves watching operas, baking and making bracelets for missionaries and nurses who work in ERs. Her mother is high-risk for COVID-19, so her mother’s family, including Smith, had to quarantine. If people don’t wear masks, those who are high-risk are immuno-comprised, Smith says. If people do, they make it safer for those who are high-risk to live their lives. She wrote the op-ed for her general foundations of rebellion class at Snow.