After nearly two years of solely being able to go outside with a mask, the controversy of whether mask mandates will officially be lifted is growing. COVID-19 has affected everyone’s life, for better or for worse, but with unprecedented times come unpredictable futures. Every occurrence within the pandemic, whether it was a variant or a riot, historical events felt like plot twists in a movie rather than actual moments we were living through. As a result, no one knows what or who to rely on when it comes to the future. Will we continue to wear masks? Or will we eventually go back to how living was pre-pandemic and look at these past years as a fever dream?
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health decided to change the course of how most began to believe that the pandemic would always take control of our lives by lifting the mask mandates in the county, but is it too soon? After a massive increase in COVID-19 cases from late December to January, the county hit a new low in cases and because of the access to vaccines and boosters, it was decided that the masks were no longer required. After Andrew Noymer revealed on the L.A. Times that he thought “L.A. County’s decision was reasonable given the lower infection levels, but said the public should be prepared to return to masking in the future,” it brought up the argument of whether or not it is worth it to not require masks if we are destined to rise cases once again and continue the unreliable and hard cycle of masking, unmasking, and repeat the process.
Yes, there is a sense of reminisce to the times where we didn’t have to wear masks everywhere we went and it is a little bit of an inconvenience, but at the cost of other people’s health and overall respect to a literal pandemic, it is worthwhile to keep the cloth on a little longer. Not even two months ago we experienced a number of cases recorded that were never seen before, affecting people who followed safety precautions, including myself, and it was a very difficult experience. To take two months after record breaking cases and decide that the masks are no longer a need is shocking and with the level of comfortability that the majority has. Personally, I am not clear on why this happened so soon, and expect the cases to rise once more, mandates be reinforced, and people having a bad reaction to it all, just as occurred in June of 2021.
Not only are mandates being lifted in stores and other visiting places in the L.A. County, they are also being lifted in schools. This is even worse, because if a store like Target lifts its mask mandate, you might go to Target at most once or twice a week, shop, and you’re out. Whereas students attend school five days a week for hours in tight classrooms with 30 other students and L.A. County thinks it will turn out okay for students, families, and staff? Safety precautions have never made much sense, but at least they attempted to provide guidelines and safety; it seems as though officials have completely given up and left the pandemic up as a social experiment for Americans to choose their own destiny. The county agreed that they still strongly recommend people to wear masks, if they so strongly believe that masks should be worn, why take down the mandate? Likely to abide by the political pressure of masks being lifted to benefit individuals. Officials took off the political pressure for their own reputation and the benefit of people who can’t wear cloth because it is “against their freedom” rather than the health of everyone.
I believe that masks should be worn for at least a couple more months to ensure that we are in a place of stability in COVID-19 cases to where we can handle a little uprising because of the lift of masks. Since the mandate is lifted, I hope people have the decency to care about the people around them and wear masks if they are sick or in a crowded room. Times are changing and the future is unpredictable, and that is that.