An Unmasking Of America’s Ignorance?

America: Land of the Free. Or more accurately, Land of the Free-to-Openly-Ignore-Scientific-Facts.

The hostility from certain groups in America towards various medical and healthcare issues is a frequently documented occurrence. In a 2015 National Geographic article, Joel Achenbach writes, “We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge… faces organized and often furious opposition”.

From vaccines to abortion, and now – with efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus – wearing a mask, there seems to be a fundamental issue between some Americans and science. There has been a huge backlash to medical and scientific experts advising people to wear a mask if they are leaving the house to visit a place where social distancing may prove difficult.

Some states have now opted to pause the re-opening – or reverse the process –  since scientists have warned of the heightened risk of a second spike

Much of the US began to re-open due to fears of a dwindling economy after locking down in March, but a map by The New York Times shows that some states have now opted to pause the re-opening – or reverse the process –  since scientists have warned of the heightened risk of a second spike.

Donald Trump has vocally emphasised his dismissal of the mask, no doubt a factor in his supporters refusing to wear one. But recently Trump claimed he was “all for masks”.

In times of hardship people want their leaders to guide them, but as has been increasingly evident throughout Trump’s presidency, he does not have the public’s interest – or even safety – in mind. His flagrant refusal to acknowledge the evidence presented by medical experts is just another item pinned onto a long list of Trump’s dangerous and provocative leadership.

The UK is also burdened by the attitude of money over lives; Boris Johnson has similarly rushed to open shops, and now pubs, in order to get the economy started again. In reality, what has changed since the lockdown began? We still do not have a vaccine and, although the figures have dropped, 176 people died from COVID on 2nd July (from the WHO website).

Matt Hancock has brushed these lowered figures off with an “only”, but any deaths at all are a condemnation of the poor effort to contain the spread our government has shown throughout the entirety of the pandemic.

It’s no surprise the fear of a second wave is rising

Across both the UK and America it’s clear that our leaders are failing us. Boris Johnson shaking hands with COVID-19 patients in hospitals and Donald Trump actively suggesting Americans inject disinfectant to cure the virus proves the utter lack of common sense from those who should be safely showing us the way forwards. It’s no surprise the fear of a second wave is rising.

However, whilst many fear a rise in cases, a quick Google search of Americans’ reactions to proposed mandatory masks will provide a selection of furious citizens at public forums. This video features a woman saying: “you cannot mandate someone to wear a mask knowing it is killing people… literally killing people… we the people are waking up” in a display that reflects the misinformed sentiments of so many other Americans that the mask is political and not medical.

Emma Conroy

Sources used:

Featured image courtesy of  Mika Baumeister via Unsplash. Image license found hereNo changes were made to this image. 

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