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Child in a medical mask during the coronavirus pandemic

    The debate surrounding whether people should be forced to wear a mask or not during the COVID-19 pandemic has been popular in 2020. Some people feel it is a must to protect themselves and others, while a different group of people believes that the decision to wear or not wear a mask is a right.

   An experiment performed by the New England Journal of Medicine using high-speed video found that speaking a simple phrase generated hundreds of droplets, and the majority of the droplets were blocked when the mouth was covered with a washcloth.

   Another study was done in 15 states and the District of Columbia that compared the growth rate of COVID-19 before and after masks were mandated. The study found that the mandatory mask rule leads to a decrease in COVID-19 case growth. Three weeks after the mandatory mask mandate in D.C., the growth rate had slowed by 2 percentage points. This is just one example of mandatory mask rules that have led to a decrease in COVID-19 cases.

   Roy Cooper, the Governor of North Carolina, issued a mandatory mask requirement for the state of North Carolina on June 26 that stated, “People must wear face coverings when in public places, indoor or outdoor, where physical distancing of six (6) feet from other people who are not members of the same household or residence is not possible.” 

   Despite data that shows that masks do help to slow the spread of COVID-19, there is still a group of people who believe they should not be forced to wear masks. President Donald Trump’s lack of wearing a mask at public events has brought about the message to many Americans that wearing a mask is not a necessity.

   “Trump twice attended large Republican National Convention events last week without wearing a mask. Almost no one else wore one, either,” Fortune reported. 

   Anti-mask people also believe being forced to wear a mask is taking away their freedom and rights. In an interview with Volvox, a 48-year-old mother of two from Ohio argued, “It’s a violation of my freedom, I think, and then also I just don’t think they work.” 

   Despite the scientific research backing masks, the debate will continue until the gradual end of this pandemic. It is the responsibility of every individual to wear a mask in order to protect themselves and those at greater risk due to pre-existing health conditions and old age.