Mask Denialism and the Twisting of Truth
By: Elizabeth Buerkle
Now well into the 9th month of the Covid-19 pandemic, nearly everyone has run into someone who has had enough of it. They refuse to wear their mask, be it properly over their nose or not at all, and cause a scene at nearly any public space imaginable. These people are generally accepted to be uninformed or ignorant, however there is a reason they are so passionate in their disobedience. News sources like Fox News and political pundits associated with it have been promoting skepticism of the virus since the beginning, but researchers have had enough.
Fox News host Laura Ingraham recently tweeted out “Told you!” with the link to a Danish study stating there is no statistical significance between someone getting Covid-19 while wearing a mask versus not wearing a mask. What she failed to acknowledge is that one of the main promoters for wearing a mask is that it’s meant to stop the wearer from spreading Covid-19 themselves, not stop them from contracting it from other people. Wearing a mask protects others more than it does yourself. The authors of the study have come forward to express their distaste to how their work is being used, and that they fully stand with health officials in promoting wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. The CDC has been abundantly clear on their website that wearing a mask “blocks exhaled emissions of virus-laden respiratory particles”, and that “you should wear a mask, even if you do not feel sick.”
Laura Ingraham is one of the loudest people in the right-wing field that has been promoting conspiracies against the seriousness of the pandemic and its lethality, sewing distrust between experts and the public claiming that they “don’t want you to read” the real science that supposedly disproves all the hoopla. This kind of behavior from major news sources is not only dangerous in the face of a pandemic, but can set the stage for a storm of misinformation for any number of disasters or current events. If qualified people become invalidated by the media, the general public becomes less informed and less educated as a consequence, and the idea that a country with access to some of the most skilled professionals in the world would effectively cut themselves off from those resources is a scary one.
Misinformation is one of the most dangerous threats to society no matter the state of the world, and the tolerance of it has gone far past what is acceptable. When the White House stripped the CDC of its data collection role, it was already too far. In a time of such uncertainty, it’s disappointing to see the most influential systems in the United States begin to work against the best interest of the public. Ultimately, wearing a mask is a small step everyone can do to help stay safe during these trying times, and it should never have been politicized in the first place.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.
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