Germ the mask, not me

Mask+up+and+germ+the+mask%2C+not+me

Art by Natalie Karlson

Mask up and germ the mask, not me

Let’s talk dirty. 

Germs are no joke. 

“Germ”, is an overlaying term used to reference bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. These are microscopic organisms that feed off your cells or use them as hosts to reproduce. A virus can spread within eight hours by taking over host cells. This isn’t a one-by-one progression. Viruses burst a single host and infect a large batch of additional cells in the process. 

There are 100 million microorganisms per milliliter (mL) of spit and on average we swallow 100 mL of spit per day. Each word we say and breath we expel, releases a fog of miniscule droplets, known for containing airborne infections, yes, including COVID-19

I don’t mean to bore you with facts, but this is important to know. After all, a mask was designed to be a barrier to protect you from spreading and receiving germs, even before the epidemic. 

Just for reference, remember how wet it feels when you wear a mask all day. Normally, all that moisture is going into the air and landing on whatever or whoever it catches on first. 

Again, just to stress the facts, this “moisture” contains germs including viruses infecting one’s respiratory system. Fluids from the lungs is a portion of what we disperse into the air.

Doesn’t this sound like something you would want to keep to yourself? Like a little secret you don’t want to just spread to just anyone. 

We should all be experts when it comes to viruses by now. But there is still a push when it comes to wearing protection. Masks, I’m talking about masks again. 

The only way you can keep yourself safe in this world is to make sure you are taking the right precautions when it comes to your own health. In some cases, like with minors, masking is enforced. 

This is because public schools deal with a high volume of individuals with their own social lives. Masking is in the best interest of students’ wellbeing and will also keep the school from being liable if a student catches COVID-19. 

In Rockingham County, we had a massive spike from October 28 to November 2 with 706 additional confirmed cases. This supported the district’s decision to mandate the masks once again. Luckily the viral sickness has tampered down to 233 cases as of November 28. We had five cases as of November 19 from our own school halls.

Just because things are starting to look up, doesn’t mean it is safe yet. I agree, we should keep clear of the abrupt incline and keep the masks on for a few more weeks. 

Being uncomfortable and safe is still safe. 

Sometimes sacrifices must be made, like an overly moist chin while taking an algebra test. We can persevere and we will make it to 2022. 

This is not to cause offense, it’s to explain that the students of LHS will power through. It will take a little more than breathing in our own breath to bring us down. In fact it would probably take a massive wave of COVID-19 to do that. 

Respectfully, I acknowledge that there are community members taking a strong stance in their beliefs, and if masks were optional, I would also prefer to put it away for good. But what you want can be the opposite of what you need and this is how life works. The only way masks will go away is if we decrease the spread of this virus. 

Wear a mask today, in hopes that they will be left untouched tomorrow. 

What if one day we will have to wear bulky helmets to breathe through our own pollution? Masks may just be a step into evolution. Embrace the new future, which we will make it to, thanks to avoiding COVID-19 at all costs. 

Mask up and stay safe.