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Taking Mask Mandates Away is Stupid

Abi Hilden, staff writer

Due to dropping COVID-19 case rates in the Twin Cities, the mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul have decided to lift the indoor mask mandate except for city-run buildings. After over two years, one would think that those in power would have some sort of a handle on how pandemics work. On the other hand, this move isn’t that shocking.

The idea behind masking is to limit the spread of this deadly disease, a disease that myself and countless others know the effects of all too well at this point. So, obviously when the masks are being worn and the mandates are in place, numbers will fall. It is direct proof of the masks working to stop the spread, to end this plague as fast as possible. What kind of logic is there to take the mandates away when they are just starting to work? It’s the same mistake being made over and over and over again in every city in this stupid country. 

When you take away a mask mandate when numbers are dropping, that’s like saying, “Oh the sun came out, I’m gonna go outside in a tank top and shorts. What do you mean it’s 50 below?” This removal of requirement for masks is a time bomb waiting to happen, and it’s not even a new one! Over the past two years, the numbers of COVID cases have risen and fallen many times – directly in line with the timelines of mask mandates. 

Trust me, I would love more than anything to comfortably return to life without masks. Life without vaccines, boosters, N95s, KN95s, social distancing and more is the ideal end to this extended torture of living through a pandemic. But I also know the importance of protecting other people and doing my part to end this thing. If people stop wearing masks, people die. Let me repeat that: PEOPLE DIE.

There has been an insurmountable loss of life due to this pandemic and taking away one of the only things that could slow that down or stop it is a pretty idiotic move. Part of the reason I am so passionate about this topic is the fact that I lost one of the most important people in my life to this horrible disease. The death of my father could have been completely preventable had people had the decency to put on a mask in March 2020 and keep it on. When I heard about the mask mandates being lifted in the Twin Cities, it felt like a fresh wound had been reopened.

I am so tired and so is pretty much everyone else out there in the world. I’d like to believe that there is still a world where this is not how I am always going to feel. I think that world comes when everyone puts aside their selfishness and actually cares about their fellow person by putting a piece of cloth on their face and getting a shot.

Now, I don’t think my words will do much to reverse the decision of the mayors. I can’t imagine that I am the only person expressing this frustration and clearly they don’t care. However, Augsburg is now at a point where they can do the right thing and keep the mask mandate in place. Without it, this campus becomes less safe. I cannot deal with any more loss right now and rolling back precautions will be playing with fate.

To wrap this up, I have one final request. Whether it is required or not, don’t be a jerk and just wear a mask. It’s not that hard and it can save lives.