By Dante Benedetti, staff writer
COVID-19 is not only a direct threat to our health, it is also causing some other problems that maybe weren’t foreseen. Measures that are in place to prevent the spread of COVID and the possible death of many, are causing some rather interesting social interactions. Of course, human life is a valuable thing, and it would be devastating if there were a major outbreak, but people should also be aware that the preventative measures, in my opinion, are more confusing than helpful. There are two main measures that are causing some problems in our society: wearing masks, and social distancing.
First, the wearing of masks. We can’t tell if masks are useless because not everyone wears a mask and we can’t tell if they are helpful also because not everyone wears a mask. According to The Hill, 55 percent of Americans wear masks, and of course that varies from state to state and county to county. I would guess that out of that 55 percent, the majority of them cheat. At work I’ll see people guiltily stealing a gulp of fresh air or pretending that the mask is in fact covering their whole face and that they aren’t just breathing through their nose. The thing is we can’t know either way. However, we do know that masks are causing some other problems beyond health. For example, they make it very hard to hear another person. I work at a hardware store and someone asked me where the batteries were, I heard “bathroom” and handed him the bathroom key. Masks are also causing people to interact with each other less. For example, I was crossing a store parking lot and a truck stopped for me, I turned and gave the driver a smile to show my thanks but realized afterward that he couldn’t read my face because of my mask. Masks are making it more difficult to interact with other people, and social distancing isn’t helping either.
Social distancing, in short, is difficult, because 1) it is almost impossible to enforce, whereas wearing masks is somewhat enforceable, and 2) a lot of people forget to do it anyway. With social distancing some people feel inclined to go out of their way to hike as far as possible up the side of the traill to stay away from you or others forget—or just don’t care—that there is a pandemic going on and go the wrong way down a grocery aisle or attempt to shake your hand in public. Now I’m not saying everyone does the extreme, in fact most people don’t, but my point is social distancing, like masks, isn’t easily determined as a sure fire way to stop the spread, because you have people who are and aren’t doing it.
Lastly, I would like to talk about the time frame we are given for how long this is going to go on. Frankly, there isn’t one. The problems that I have discussed would be more acceptable if we were given a date when this is all going to end. My dad asks just about everyday at dinner “Are we still in quarantine?” There is just so much information going around that it makes it more confusing. Some days I feel things are letting up, others I feel they are cracking down harder. Masks don’t help flatten the curve, oh wait, yes they do. Social distancing is essential, wait no it isn’t. COVID doesn’t affect children, oh wait yes it does. The list goes on. I am certainly not telling people that they should go around not wearing masks and getting close to people, and I’m also not saying everyone needs to wear a mask 24/7 and walk around with a six foot pole that you use to poke people away from you. I am saying that if we aren’t given some sort of a date soon, we should start questioning what exactly is going on.