Masking up: protecting ourselves and each other

Elise Wennberg – Staff Writer

Contributed Photo

For the past six months the world has been on high alert due to the pandemic that has been sweeping across the nations. Due to the virus, people all over the world have been wearing face masks and doing their best to social distance in order to protect themselves and others from the spread of the coronavirus.

Beth Baas, the director Student Health and Counseling on Dordt’s campus, relayed some information on the importance how to counter the spread of the coronavirus on campus. The two largest factors are distance and face masks.

“The biggest cause has been droplets and aerosols.” Bass said, “Droplets are the small drops of liquid are come from your mouth (and nose) when you cough, sneeze, breathe, and talk. Aerosols are the tiny particles emitted by humans that are in the air, and when you breathe, you take in those aerosols without realizing it. By wearing a mask, it helps cut down on those droplets and helps to block out those small particles lingering in the air”.

“Masks with valves are the least effective due to letting aerosol particles out instead of keeping them in.” Bass continues, “The tighter fit the mask, the more effective it is.” She also lays out the three C’s: closed confined spaces, crowded spaces, and close-contact areas where you’re having a conversation. Baas says if you are ever in one of these positions to ask yourself if it is a good situation for you, later adding that “Each individual—each person, student, staff member—has to be responsible for their own safety.”

When picking out a mask to it is important to know what masks are proven to be more effective. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a mask with two or more layers of fabric tends to prevent the spread of COVID-19 more effectively than those with only one layer. It is important to have fabric that is breathable and washable that covers the mouth and nose. Masks should also be washed daily.

As face masks have made their way into people’s everyday wear, there has been some push-back in America. In many Asian countries, wearing a face mask due to illness or dust and pollution is not uncommon. The SARS epidemic of the early 2000s heavily influenced this shift in culture, and now wearing a mask is considered polite and hygienic. For other countries, like America, mask-wearing is seen as an often political decision and up for debate.

Caleb Kulesza, a sophomore at Dordt University, lives on a suburb outside of Chicago, IA. He recalls people standing outside of some stores making sure people were wearing masks inside the building, and seeing people being told to put on their masks while inside the building.

He also noticed large groups of people continuing to congregate—such as people crowding to play volleyball games without wearing masks. While parts of the city maintained the wearing of masks, many still tried to disregard the mandate of wearing a mask in public places.

In Sioux Center, people can often be seen in close proximity to others without wearing masks. Many don’t think that COVID-19 is as big of a threat in a small town as larger cities, such as Iowa City, which has a per-capita case rate that rivals entire countries. However, Sioux County is not without a fair share of COVID-19 cases. As of Sep. 7, the New York Times reported 995 cases within the county

“Some people do not realize that [wearing a mask] protects other people,” said Baas.

“A mask says ‘I care about you’ and your mask says you care about me. If wearing a mask has even a small effect on containing the spread of COVID-19 and there is no harm done to me, then why wouldn’t I wear a mask?”

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