Covering your Face or Freedom?


Most food service employees are required to wear face masks at work. General manager Sandrea Smith at Seoul Taco prepares a steak burrito for hospital workers April 16, 2020, as part of the Off Their Plate initiative.(Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune)

Dylan Fisher, Reporter

     A man walks into a store to buy milk and observes two types of people: those who cover their face and those who do not. The man covers his face in respect to expert opinion; however, he wonders why others choose not to abide by this restriction.

      On April 3, the CDC recommended that everybody wear a face mask to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. Some people have followed this recommendation and others have decided otherwise for their own reasons. In an interview conducted between Corky Siemaszko of NBC news and Jacqueline Gollan, a psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Gollan stated, “… they underestimate the threat. It’s not concrete, it’s abstract. And prevention is a difficult thing to measure.”

      In another interview between Siezmaszko and Elizabeth Dorrance Hall, a professor of communications at Michigan State University, Dorrance Hall commented, “In general, people don’t like being told what to do.” Hall furthered this idea by comparing it to eating cake. “For example, if a person was told not to eat cake at a birthday party, they may seek to restore their freedom directly by doing the forbidden act.” Gollan also stated, “Sometimes it’s a matter of wanting to control one’s own behavior and in wanting to feel like they’re in control they will do something like this.” She also adds, “Sometimes it’s a matter of people thinking that wearing a mask doesn’t work, or they disbelieve the science.” 

     Dr. Scott Caroll, a psychiatrist, spoke with reporters from Albuquerque, New Mexico about the psychology involved with some peoples refusal to wear masks in public. “For teenagers and young adults there’s often a sense of invulnerability like you know nothing bad can happen to them.  As you get older people will often have a sense of distrust of authority figures.” In other words, Carroll says that older people can think that it’s part of a conspiracy or something to do with government authority.

      Whether you choose to wear a mask or not,  I hope you consider the repercussions of your choice, so choose carefully.