Mask Mandate Mayhem

Texas governor Greg Abbott announced the end of the mask mandate

Hannah Falcon

Texas governor Greg Abbott announced the end of the mask mandate

Kalea Reeves, Staff Writer

Exactly one year ago, the coronavirus entered the United States and a pandemic began to rage across the country. Although 12 months have passed since then, new cases are reported every day and people are still dying. Despite the fact that we are still deep in the midst of this crisis, states are beginning to lift their mask mandates in contrast to the Center of Disease Control (CDC)’s recommendations.

This week, Texas and Mississippi dropped their statewide mask mandates. They join Iowa, Montana and North Dakota, who lifted their mandates earlier this year. Wyoming will end theirs next week, and Alabama is on track to follow suit in April.

“Wearing masks will be a matter of personal responsibility, and not government mandated,” Governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey, said.

Of course, not all people will take on this personal responsibility. Anti-mask individuals and groups continue to defy the mandates still in place in a stand for personal freedom.

“It’s a violation of my freedom, I think, and then also I just don’t think they work. A lot of stuff says it does, but then some doesn’t,” a resident of Ohio said.

The seven states will join the eleven who never had a mandate to start: Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Tennessee.

These states referred to the lowering of case numbers and hospitalizations as reasons to lift their mandates. However, the CDC still strongly encourages wearing masks and socially distancing even though vaccines are being rolled out—especially with the newly reported COVID variants.

“At this level of cases with variants spreading, we stand to completely lose the hard-earned ground we have gained,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said.

The United States has made much progress with the coronavirus since last year. However, even as case numbers continue to go down, we are not out of this pandemic. Government-mandated or not, please just wear your mask and respect others’ space.