By Raymond Nava
Republican Senator J.D. Vance of Ohio fueled mask misinformation during his introduction of the “Freedom to Breathe Act” on Sept. 7, putting people at risk and sowing doubt in proven science.
The “Freedom to Breathe Act” would ban federal mask mandates for domestic air travel, public transit systems and schools.
Vance said that masks don’t work and claim they actually do more harm than good.
This is of course a flat out lie, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeatedly stated that masks help prevent the transmission of COVID-19; but, this doesn’t stop the far-right from trying to ban mask mandates.
People like Vance are doing everything they can to spread misinformation and outright lies, such as his comments on the senate floor while introducing his bill.
Rhetoric like his can and has gotten people killed.
While his legislation has no chance of passing the democratic controlled senate, it’s a poignant example of the right’s politicization of masking and COVID-19 policies overall.
If people don’t follow what officials say, the country risks potentially getting back to pandemic levels of cases.
If people also refuse to get the vaccine, there is a risk of the virus mutating into a vaccine-resistant strain.
Even though mask mandates are practically non-existent now, Vance used examples of Morris Brown College in Georgia and Lionsgate studios in California to fear monger.
The places temporarily reinstated of mask mandates after reported cases of COVID-19.
Vance referenced them during the bill introduction to imply that the government is getting ready to bring back mask mandates.
Even if this were true, who cares?
It’s been nearly three years since the COVID-19 pandemic. While day to day life has seemingly been back to normal, the virus is still very much real.
Most COVID-19 restrictions have been wound down, including mask mandates, though it’s still encouraged, but COVID-19 cases seem to be seeing an increase again.
There’s been talk about whether or not some of these precautions should be brought back.
If the virus does see a rapid increase again, we should be prepared to get back into COVID-19 era mandates.
Barring a massive outbreak of some new vaccine resistant and deadlier strain, lockdown mandates are unlikely.
Even regular people who are still adamant about COVID-19 still being around concede that lockdowns are unlikely to return.
However, people should be prepared to deal with lockdowns should the worst case scenario happen.
If people are quick to follow what health officials such as the CDC recommend, the public could handle a potential second surge of the virus in a vastly different way compared to the first time.
Masking has been proven time and time again to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
And even if mask mandates did return, it is just a simple piece of cloth on a face.
Anti-maskers act as though it’s some big hindrance in their lives.
This isn’t like requiring people to wear some big mechanical device on their body, it’s just a harmless mask.
COVID-19 era policies are what helped a lot of people survive during the pandemic.
If the country does see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, people need to be prepared to follow whatever the health officials recommend. If we actually listen to officials, then we can ward off any potential uptick in COVID-19 cases.