What Refusing a Mask Says to Someone Like Me
This isn’t intended to be political (and it baffles me that anyone can consider this a political topic), but I’m sure some people will try to take it that way. My thoughts here are my own; however, I know many people in my position that feel as I do. So, I will be their voice here.
My MS treatment manipulates my immune system
I live with multiple sclerosis, an incurable autoimmune disease that left me disabled by my mid-30s. I survive by taking a treatment that manipulates my immune system. I am the very definition of high-risk when it comes to COVID-19. The current pandemic has taught me a lot about my fellow human race; namely, that my life doesn’t seem to matter to a large portion of it.
Illnesses that are mild for others tend to be severe for me
It is no stretch to say that the COVID-19 could kill me. Because of both my illness and my treatment, I not only get sick far easier than most, but the severity and duration of anything I catch tend to be much greater than for others. I’ve caught viruses from people that never even knew they had them because the symptoms were so mild to them. However, when I caught that virus, it left me bedridden for weeks. An already deadly illness like the coronavirus could be especially deadly for someone like me.
Fear and frustration
Scary stuff, right? I mean, I’m only in my early 40s; I should have a lot more life left. The thing is, this virus wouldn’t be that scary if everyone simply wore a mask. Science has proven that masks stop the spread of this terrible virus. I’m specifically not even linking to the numerous studies that show that, because if you don’t believe in wearing a mask, you’ve shown you already don’t understand science, or just don’t care. Not only is there science supporting this, but in practice, entire countries have stopped the spread of this virus by wearing masks. Where I live though, in the United States, people have become averse to science, averse to expertise, and adverse to their fellow human beings.
What about me?
So, if this virus can kill me and we know that wearing masks will slow the spread of this virus and protect people like me, what does it say when people refuse to wear a mask? Obviously, it says that my life doesn’t matter to them. That my life isn’t worth the bare minimum of effort. I don’t care what you say about rights or whatever excuse you are trying to use. Even if it’s your right to not wear a mask, wouldn’t you want to? For me? For others like me? Apparently, the answer for many people is no. My life is not worth the bare minimum of inconvenience.
Overwhelmed with anger
Seeing so many people feel this way has started to have an effect on me. How could it not? When I see someone refusing to wear a mask, to me, that’s them shouting that my life doesn’t matter to them. That’s a powerful thing to behold just once; yet, in America at least, it happens constantly. I live in a land where a large group of people would be fine with me dying simply so they aren’t slightly inconvenienced. That has begun to really skew the way I look at others. I’ve gone from sadness and disappointment that I don’t matter enough to being filled with rage. I now get angry at those who don’t wear masks because I’m now taking it for what it really is: a threat to my existence. I’m not here to debate this, I’m not here to continue the discussion in the comments, just to share how many of us see this.
Editor’s note: For those interested in reading more evidence-based research about how face masks help slow the spread of COVID-19, we have provided references below from the CDC (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) along with additional sources. We acknowledge that there are differing opinions around wearing a face mask, and we encourage respectful discussion in accordance with our Community Rules.
How well do people around you understand MS?