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As I scroll through social media there seems to be a recurring theme: groups of friends, usually outside, huddled together, posing for a photo as if we were in pre-pandemic times. It seems that being outside removes the risk of coronavirus for most, which science disagrees with. It also confuses me why people don’t like masks or feel shame for posing with them. Not only are they protecting you and others from a potentially harmful disease, but they are fashionable and make the simple statement that you care about those surrounding you. So here are ten reasons why you should wear a mask. Yes, even outside, with your friends, while posing for photos.

The pandemic isn't over!

Maybe you’re done worrying about COVID-19, but some people don’t have that luxury because of the harmful effects it has had on their lives. If we really want an end to what has been an incredibly difficult time for most, wearing a mask would speed things up. Every time you choose to forget yours, you’re slowing things down.

Protect your friends and family.

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than watching news clips of families having to deal with a member getting infected with coronavirus and not recovering. If a mask can protect those around you, especially those you love, wearing one shouldn’t be that hard of a decision.

Protect yourself.

Masks also serve to protect yourself. While the CDC mainly considers older-aged adults and those with underlying medical conditions as high risk, it is always possible to suffer from harsher symptoms with long-term effects.

Protect BIPOC communities.

Our country faces many issues, one of the most important being healthcare disparities among underrepresented communities. Some communities, because of where they live, are predisposed to conditions relating to harmful environmental conditions among others. This can make the effects of the virus much more challenging. It has been seen in studies throughout the country that Black and Hispanic populations have faced more cases total than any other population in the country. Access to healthcare also becomes an issue as not everyone can afford the bills that come with extended medical care. 

Protect undocumented immigrants.

In a previous article, I talked about the difficulties of the pandemic for undocumented immigrants because of new legislation, known as the public charge rule, that could punish undocumented immigrants for seeking out medical help or government benefits. On top of this, many immigrants are working the essential jobs our communities need to thrive. You forgetting to wear a mask reroutes the course of someone’s financial stability and possibly their ability to reach their desired citizenship status. ​

Protect essential workers.

There are some who spend their days fighting for the lives of those who are suffering from the virus, not only risking their own lives but also sacrificing time away from their loved ones. Additionally, there are those who are now being forced to work more hours cleaning up after college students, working at the grocery store, and increasing production for certain essential products. Remind yourself of the people working behind the scenes to make sure you stay safe and happy.

Zoom isn’t the experience we paid for.

While I’m thankful that I can still complete a university education during these wild times because of an online platform like Zoom, my only wish is to be able to work and hang out with my friends somewhere on campus as we all sip on iced coffee together. The sooner this pandemic is over the sooner I don’t have to worry about filling in a meeting ID and password within my childhood bedroom.

There’s a whole world out there to see!

If you’ve recently looked at which countries are currently allowing US citizens to travel, you won’t find many options. Not only will this derail your family vacation plans but also study abroad programs. So, again, wear your mask so we can get back out to exploring the world!

Reboot the economy.

According to Forbes, more than 22 million people have lost their jobs due to nonessential business shutdowns. The hope is that as soon as people can fully be out again, businesses will come back as well as employment rates. That won’t happen until masks are normalized!

Masks are super stylish!

This one I think is self-explanatory. Masks can be a great addition to your outfit! Just make sure you are wearing the best possible kind. According to this study by Duke, fitted N95 masks, three-layer surgical and cotton masks remain the most effective. Try to choose one in this category!

In the end, I don’t know how to explain to others that they should care about other people. I simply hope that people recognize that this simple act can change lives.

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Léa is a sophomore from Paris, France, and Princeton, NJ majoring in International Relations with a minor in journalism. Also serving as the Co-President of BU's French Club and as a senior editor for IR Review, Léa loves writing about current events, global politics, and social justice.
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