Northwest Missourian Opinion

Government is an organization that helps a society run and solve issues. The Missouri government clearly failed to do its job during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the biggest mistakes was Missouri’s failure to implement a statewide mask mandate. Gov. Mike Parson repeatedly said he would not enact a mask mandate. During a press conference Nov. 12, 2020, Mike Parson asked Missourians to socially distance, wash their hands and wear masks. This is simply not enough.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, masks are one of the simplest ways to prevent the droplets from spreading.

It is important to realize that the single most impactful action every single individual can do is wear a mask because it stops respiratory droplets from spreading.

Also, masks help save lives by preventing the overload of the healthcare system.

Increase in cases could overwhelm health systems and could lead to untold preventable deaths due to a lack of resources, such as ICU beds, ventilators and nursing staff,” said Dr. Scott Braunstein, medical director of Sollis Health in Los Angeles, in an interview with Healthline. The impact of not wearing a mask is not just a risk to an individual, but a risk to the entire public including the healthcare system.

Despite all the research promoting the benefits of wearing a mask, Parson has two excuses that he has been using to try and push the blame off of himself. Neither is any good.

His first excuse is something that has been used by many people that don’t want to wear masks. He has claimed that forcing people to wear masks takes away their individual freedoms. A mask mandate does not stop you from doing anything.

For example, the state government already has laws to protect your health over personal choice in seatbelt laws. In the state of Missouri, if you are sitting in the driver or front passenger seat, you must have your seat belt on. This is a law to protect you, much like a mask law would. In the past, the government has stepped in and put simple laws in place to protect the public. That is the purpose of government.

His other reason for not implementing a statewide mandate is that counties and cities likely already have a mask mandate or ordinance of their own, negating the need for a statewide mandate.

This is just lazy governing.

Imagine if this same ideology was used in other parts of health and safety regulation. What if the state did nothing to stop people from driving under the influence? Under the kind of logic that Parson uses, Missouri should not get involved because drinking is a personal choice, despite the fact that both not wearing a mask and driving under the influence are both a personal and public health risk. A mask mandate is no different than these two laws.

The state of Missouri should have a mask mandate in public places and in businesses. This simple action would help slow the spread of the virus as research has proven and would be a great start to helping Missouri recover from this pandemic.

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