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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

I can’t believe I have to say this, but yes, you need a mask. Yes, the Earth is round. Yes, tomatoes are fruit. And yes, Covid-19 is real.

                So real in fact, that, according to USAFacts.org, there have been 222,927 reported cases and 4,463 reported deaths in New Mexico alone. Can you imagine the brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, or grandparents lost? Those aren’t just numbers, but they are instead people with lives, hopes, and dreams that were cut short because of this terrifying disease.

                That is why New Mexico decided to reinstate the mask mandate for all public indoor spaces. Because the disease is so real and terrifying that hospital systems around the country are failing once again, leaving hospitals without enough beds, oxygen, or ambulances.

                How is it that people would rather believe random Facebook posts or Instagram influences over the word of licensed professionals? It’s not as if there isn’t data to back up the facts of Covid-19 being deadly, or that masks work. The only way something, anything, can be taken as fact is if there is clearly enough data to support it. But so many people believe the words of random people, with no background in science or diseases and take their claims as facts.

                The only way to describe these people is that they are selfish. They refuse to see the current situation as what it is, real and terrifying. They consider themselves brave, or even smarter than the actual professionals. It’s ridiculous to imagine that there are people out there who are so enamored with their own ideologies’ that they refuse to understand the destruction they are causing. Their delusions have caused this new surge in cases, and have caused more people to die of a disease that could have been contained.

                The science behind masks is simple, you cover your nose and mouth to stop the spreading of germs, to avoid passing on any germs or diseases you may have to other people. It’s not a device designed to interrupt your rights. It’s not meant to disrupt a higher power. It’s a simple, yet effective tool, that helps keep the spread of germs low.

                Masks are even more important now than ever, as the new delta variant is described as being two to four times more contagious than the original Covid-19 variant. New Mexico Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. David Scrase has stated that everyone wants the pandemic to be over but the virus has its own timeline. The disease does not care if you wanted to go to that concert, or if you wanted to make that trip to Disneyland this year. It’s ridiculous to assume that your wants trump the facts.

                Everyone is tired, and one person’s feelings are not more important than another’s. Complaining that you are tired of missing out on what life has to offer is one thing, but to live life as though Covid-19 isn’t a thing is idiotic. Those who are so tired of staying indoors have decided that “enough is enough” and that “we can’t be afraid of a virus”, are causing the deaths of those around them. It might not be people they personally know either, it could be that older woman who opened the door for them at the bank, or the cashier they handed money to, or the person who sat in that seat after they got off the bus. It doesn’t matter if we don’t personally know these people, because as human beings, who have created, supported, and loved one another throughout history, it is our duty to care. Therefore, it is our duty to wear our masks, get that vaccine, and avoid close contact with other people.

                There is so much that life has to offer, and it’s okay to be sad about the things we are missing out on. I didn’t get to celebrate my 21st birthday as I wanted. I won’t be able to graduate in the environment that I wanted. And I am sad about that. But what I really wish I had is that I had my grandpa back, who died of Covid-19 in 2020. Can you imagine the parts of life that he missed out on? He missed my birthday, a day I had grown to expect my ritualistic call from him. He will miss my graduation, a day I expected him to hug me in my cap and gown. It is to avoid another person going through that situation that I wear my mask, and why I got vaccinated the first chance I got. I am doing my part, because I know I would give anything just to have my grandpa back.

                So just mask up, Aggies. Do your part and care for your classmates, your friends, and the people around you. And please, leave the claims and facts to the professionals.

I'm an English Major with an emphasis in Literature, Language & Culture, and I am minoring in Gender and Sexuality Studies. I tweet like i'm twitter famous, but my other interests include: books, cats, plants, Netflix, Disney and being active on my college campus.
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