The Mask Debate: Does a Person’s Liberty Matter More Than the Health of the General Population?

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Vector seamless pattern in flat style with people of different nationalities wearing medical masks. Global society. Cultural diversity. Disease epidemic, coronavirus infection. Coronavirus quarantine

Lillian Eschweiler

Ever since April 3. 2020, when the CDC first recommended that the public should wear Non-medical masks when in public, many were ignorant of it, stating that it is their “personal liberty” on whether or not they should or should not wear a mask. Now in August of 2021 there is a new strand of Coronavirus, that is considerably more deadly than the previous one, and yet many are unfazed stating that it is their right to not wear a mask. And quite frankly isn’t it a bit inconsiderate? It’s very much a just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should situation.  

While there is no constitutional law that states that people have to wear face-masks, there is a conscience argument to be made. Many people have health complications or just are at high risk of fatality if they contract COVID, and given that COVID has been shown to have long term effects on people, such as tachycardia. It would be wise to wear a mask, as to not cause harm to yourself and especially others, and more than ever now with the delta variant, which is more deadly than the initial virus. ,  as we know does not have a vaccine, however, this has not deterred many, instead people have been putting forth the argument that it is within their rights as an American citizen, to not wear a mask. In an article posted by Vox, quotes a mother of two from Ohio, named Amy, as saying, “‘It’s a violation of my freedom, I think, and, then also I just don’t think they work’…”. While nothing ever is guaranteed to work 100 percent of the time, the CDC has stated, “Masks are recommended as a simple barrier to help prevent respiratory droplets from traveling into the air and onto other people when the person wearing the mask coughs, sneezes, talks, or raises their voice. This is called source control. If everyone wears a mask in congregate settings, the risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2 can be reduced.” And if it is a “violation of freedom,”one has to ask, to whom? You? It seems to have been lost that this is not an argument of personal liberty, because this issue does not only affect the individual person, it affects everyone. 

In a 2013 Article, posted by “United States National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health”, on “Mutual Moral Obligations in the Prevention Of Infectious Diseases,” However, it would not be unreasonable to hold each other to some extent responsible for the consequences that follow from certain choices. Contemporary accounts of justice are responsibility-sensitive, i.e. our solidarity with others will not be unconditional. Luck-egalitarianism – a central theory in this book – argues that a community has to be solidaristic with those who are struck by bad luck, i.e. those who became victim of a process that was beyond their control, but not with those who became disadvantaged through their own fault.  As such, it would be arbitrary to those who did not oblige to catching a disease that someone, who did not do their due diligence, spread to them.

And to not acknowledge that at the least, would be disingenuous at best and at worst intentionally ignorant.     

While there is no constitutional amendment stating that one has to wear a mask, our pledge of allegiance does state “Justice and Liberty for All,” and if one person’s liberty is being taken away to serve another person. Then was it really liberty in the first place?