Opinion: Young people and the personal choice of wearing a mask

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Other pro-mask considerations of those in their 20s include addressing the societal strains caused by the virus, such as the economic downturn and overloading the health-care system (as many places have). The extensive use of masks has reduced the seemingly ubiquitous economic strain, particularly for smaller or local businesses. Mask compliance has allowed more businesses that were previously shut down due to health concerns to reopen with relative safety, thus easing the economic strain. A similar logic is held in concern with the health-care system. The virus has placed greater stress on the system and the health-care professionals who work within it. Higher mask usage may help reduce this extra stress and help restore a relative balance between society and health care again. Indeed, the overall consensus of young adults is the more mask-wearing compliance, the more positive the effect on both the economy and the health-care system. If there was an overarching complaint by those young adults in support of mask usage, it would be a desire for more readily available, reliably-sourced information about masks, their particular effectiveness, and their relationship with the coronavirus. Demands, such as wearing masks, are more readily accepted by the general populace when clear and concise reasoning supports them.

In opposition to these majority perspectives, some young adults feel that the mandates of mask-wearing, be it a company policy or a passed bylaw, as well as the popular personal choice to wear a mask, are over-reactionary. These perspectives often allude to concerns regarding rights and freedoms infringements, a desire for mask use to be a self-assessed choice, and a fear of societal pressures and conformity. Questions about whether the virus warrants such extensive mask use and a belief that it is an inaccurate reflection of the danger posed by COVID-19 are often at the root of this opinion.

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