Both my parents were non-conformists, God bless them. Asserting your individuality was a big value they instilled in me. Of course, you could go overboard and be different just for the sake of being different; but that wasn't the point. The idea was simply, "don't be a lemming, and go along just to get along." Think for yourself, and make up your own mind about what's important.
I think that is sage advice for today, with all the pressure to wear face makes everywhere. Some state governments have even gone so far as to mandate it. For many businesses, it has become corporate policy.
You have to ask why. Anyone with any common sense knows the downside to keeping your mouth and nose covered for an extended period of time. Is it really necessary to do so to beat COVID-19?
I say no. Here are five valid reasons why. I understand that certain people may have to wear a mask under specific circumstances - such as if they are sick, and around others; but by and large, it is an unnecessary and often harmful practice - not just to our health, but to society in general.
1. The widely held assumption that asymptomatic coronavirus carriers are extremely contagious may not even be true.
From the National Institute of Health:
“It is debatable whether asymptomatic COVID-19 virus carriers are contagious.”
2. The disease spreads mainly among people who are in close contact for a "prolonged period” (see the NEJM below for what is a “prolonged period.”
From the CDC:
"COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within about 6 feet) for a prolonged period."
3. Wearing a mask outside offers little, if any, protection.
“We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”
4. Wearing a face mask can be dangerous to your health.
“Now that we have established that there is no scientific evidence necessitating the wearing of a face mask for prevention, are there dangers to wearing a face mask, especially for long periods? Several studies have indeed found significant problems with wearing such a mask. This can vary from headaches, to increased airway resistance, carbon dioxide accumulation, to hypoxia, all the way to serious life-threatening complications.”
5. Wearing a face mask is all too often simply a means of controlling others just to control them.
From The Federalist:
"Mandatory masking seeks to build that consent. In addition to extending the fiction that we are in an emergency sufficient to trigger the extra-constitutional authority of local and state executives, mandatory masking acts as a peer pressure-fueled signal that encourages conformity to our coming “new normal.”
"And that’s the key. If we want to marginally improve our lives, we will submit. The masks aren’t the endgame. The point of the masks is to teach the American people that if we want to get some sense of normal, we have to accept abnormality."
"If everyone is wearing a mask, it telegraphs a society-wide acceptance that the status quo has changed, and with that consensus other changes can come, too. Society will be primed to accept measures that most normal Americans would reject in any other time. Our new normal will include a permanent expansion of the bureaucracy and alarming new COVID-related regulations."