Mask refusal is when a person refuses to comply with a requirement to wear a face covering, and does not meet the criteria for any exceptions to the requirement. This can occur during a pandemic when health experts recommend wearing face coverings in order to reduce the spread of disease, causing establishments or governments to require such wearing to protect the health of others.
Some mask refusal incidents have resulted in confrontations with staff, law enforcement, security guards, and others. These confrontations at times have been verbally loud or in some cases violent. Some mask refusers who have engaged in confrontations have been arrested and sometimes criminally prosecuted. Videos of these incidents, which have occurred in locations such as retail stores and airplanes, have often been seen in the news and social media and have gone viral.
Opposition to wearing masks occurred during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. The Anti-Mask League of San Francisco was formed by those who refused to wear face masks.During the pandemic, $5 fines were imposed in San Francisco for failure to wear masks as a violation of "disturbing the peace", and many refusing to wear a mask paid the fines.
Mask opposition has been a common sight around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic as those opposed to requirements to cover their faces have exhibited protests and unruly behavior in public over their refusal to follow this guideline.
There is currently no judicial precedent in the United States providing that a governmental entity may require individuals to wear face masks in public settings. However, in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a Massachusetts law that mandated vaccines against smallpox amidst a public health crisis, thereby acknowledging the police power of the States.As for statutes, no federal law requires individuals to wear face masks in an effort to preserve public health. However, the executive branch is authorized to make any regulations necessary in preventing the spread of diseases into and within the United States. Under the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently recommends the wearing of face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19. Following this guidance, President Biden signed an executive order requiring individuals to wear face masks on all federal property. In addition, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requires passengers to wear face masks when traveling on all transportation networks. To enforce this rule, the TSA imposes civil penalties on passengers who refuse to wear face masks while traveling on transportation networks throughout the United States.
The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a worldwide view of the subject.(May 2021)
Reasons given by people who refuse to wear face masks range significantly, including: potential danger of wearing face masks due to personal health issues, the absence or lack of symptoms of COVID-19 exhibited by the individual,ineffectiveness at reducing COVID-19 transmission, alleged exaggeration of the threats of the virus (some would even argue that it does not exist) while others object to governments having the power to force people to wear face coverings, such as passing certain mandates (not laws) that require the population to wear it. Some people do not wear a face mask on medical grounds and are legally exempt from having to wear one.
Mask-wearing has been seen as an example of a generational divide by some, with older adults who refused to wear masks being seen as selfish.In addition, men have been seen as more likely to refuse wearing masks, seeing them as a threat to their masculinity. Refusal to wear face masks is also linked to vaccine hesitancy or anti-vaccination sentiment, political conservatism, rural dwelling, and non-adherence to public hygiene rules, or social distancing guidelines. Other factors which may make people less likely to wear masks includes a low death rate due to pandemic disease in one's hometown, and low mask-wearing among one's peers.
Consequences for mask refusal or improper mask-wearing can range from anything from public shaming(including calling women who refuse to wear masks "Karens" ), ejection or banning from an establishment either temporarily or permanently, criminal prosecution. , or getting and/or spreading a contagious disease (such as COVID-19)
A surgical mask, also known as a medical face mask, is a personal protective equipment worn by health professionals during medical procedures. When worn correctly, it prevents airborne transmission of infections between patients and/or treating personnel by blocking the movement of pathogens shed in respiratory droplets and aerosols from the wearer's mouth and nose.
Airborne or aerosol transmission is transmission of an infectious disease through small particles suspended in the air. Infectious diseases capable of airborne transmission include many of considerable importance both in human and veterinary medicine. The relevant infectious agent may be viruses, bacteria, or fungi, and they may be spread through breathing, talking, coughing, sneezing, raising of dust, spraying of liquids, flushing toilets, or any activities which generate aerosol particles or droplets.
Lora H. Reinbold is an American politician who is a member of the Alaska Senate. She was a member of the Alaska House from 2013 to 2019, representing District 26. Reinbold is the only member of the Alaska State Legislature who is unaffiliated with a caucus organization, as she was ejected from the Republican-led majority caucus in March 2015.
Theresa Tam is a Canadian physician and public servant who currently serves as the chief public health officer of Canada, who is the second-in-command of the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Tam initially took the role as acting CPHO following the retirement of her predecessor, Gregory Taylor, on 16 December 2016. She was formally appointed on 26 June 2017.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The first known case was identified in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. The disease has since spread worldwide, leading to an ongoing pandemic.
An N95 filtering facepiece respirator, commonly abbreviated N95 respirator, is a particulate-filtering facepiece respirator that meets the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) N95 classification of air filtration, meaning that it filters at least 95% of airborne particles. This standard does not require that the respirator be resistant to oil; another standard, P95, adds that requirement. The N95 type is the most common particulate-filtering facepiece respirator. It is an example of a mechanical filter respirator, which provides protection against particulates but not against gases or vapors. An authentic N95 respirator is marked with the text "NIOSH" or the NIOSH logo, the filter class ("N95"), a "TC" approval number of the form XXX-XXXX, the approval number must be listed on the NIOSH Certified Equipment List (CEL) or the NIOSH Trusted-Source page, and it must have headbands instead of ear loops.
Hazard controls for COVID-19 in workplaces are the application of occupational safety and health methodologies for hazard controls to the prevention of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Vaccination is the most effective way to protect against severe illness or death from COVID-19. Multiple layers of controls are recommended, including measures such as telework and flexible schedules, increased ventilation, personal protective equipment (PPE) and face coverings, physical distancing, and enhanced cleaning programs.
The COVID-19 pandemic had a large impact on public transport. Many countries advised that public transport should only be used when essential; passenger numbers fell drastically, and services were reduced. Provision of a reasonable service for the much smaller number of fare-paying passengers incurred large financial losses.
A cloth face mask is a mask made of common textiles, usually cotton, worn over the mouth and nose. When more effective masks are not available, and when physical distancing is impossible, cloth face masks are recommended by public health agencies for disease "source control" in epidemic situations to protect others from virus laden droplets in infected mask wearers' breath, coughs, and sneezes. Because they are less effective than N95 masks, surgical masks, or physical distancing in protecting the wearer against viruses, they are not considered to be personal protective equipment by public health agencies. They are used by the general public in household and community settings as protection against both infectious diseases and particulate air pollution.
Allison McGeer is a Canadian infectious disease specialist in the Sinai Health System, a Professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and a Senior Clinician Scientist at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. McGeer has led investigations into the severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak in Toronto and worked alongside Donald Low. During the COVID-19 pandemic, McGeer has studied how SARS-CoV-2 survives in the air.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks, such as surgical masks and cloth masks, have been employed as a public and personal health control measure against the spread of SARS-CoV-2. In both community and healthcare settings, their use is intended as source control to limit transmission of the virus and personal protection to prevent infection. Their function for source control is emphasized in community settings.
In epidemiology, a non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) is any method to reduce the spread of an epidemic disease without requiring pharmaceutical drug treatments. Examples of non-pharmaceutical interventions that reduce the spread of infectious diseases include wearing a face mask and staying away from sick people.
The Anti-Mask League of San Francisco was an organization formed to protest an ordinance which required people in San Francisco, California to wear masks during the 1918 influenza pandemic. The ordinance it protested lasted less than one month before being repealed. Due to the short period of the league's existence, its exact membership is difficult to determine; however, an estimated 4,000–5,000 citizens showed up to a meeting to protest the second ordinance in January 1919. Opposition to similar ordinances during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States led to renewed interest in, and comparisons with, the Anti-Mask League.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted healthcare workers physically and psychologically. Healthcare workers are more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection than the general population due to frequent contact with infected individuals. Healthcare workers have been required to work under stressful conditions without proper protective equipment, and make difficult decisions involving ethical implications. Health and social systems across the globe are struggling to cope. The situation is especially challenging in humanitarian, fragile and low-income country contexts, where health and social systems are already weak. Services to provide sexual and reproductive health care risk being sidelined, which will lead to higher maternal mortality and morbidity.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had many impacts on global health beyond those caused by the COVID-19 disease itself. It has led to a reduction in hospital visits for other reasons. There have been 38 per cent fewer hospital visits for heart attack symptoms in the United States and 40 per cent fewer in Spain. The head of cardiology at the University of Arizona said, "My worry is some of these people are dying at home because they're too scared to go to the hospital." There is also concern that people with strokes and appendicitis are not seeking timely treatment. Shortages of medical supplies have impacted people with various conditions.
Source control is a strategy for reducing disease transmission by blocking respiratory secretions produced through speaking, coughing, sneezing or singing. Surgical masks are commonly used for this purpose, with cloth face masks recommended for use by the public only in epidemic situations when there are shortages of surgical masks. In addition, respiratory etiquette such as covering the mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing can be considered source control. In diseases transmitted by droplets or aerosols, understanding air flow, particle and aerosol transport may lead to rational infrastructural source control measures that minimize exposure of susceptible persons.
There is no specific, effective treatment or cure for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus. One year into the pandemic, highly effective vaccines have now been introduced and are beginning to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2; however, for those awaiting vaccination, as well as for the estimated millions of immunocompromised persons who are unlikely to respond robustly to vaccination, treatment remains important. Thus, the lack of progress developing effective treatments means that the cornerstone of management of COVID-19 has been supportive care, which includes treatment to relieve symptoms, fluid therapy, oxygen support and prone positioning as needed, and medications or devices to support other affected vital organs.
A systematic review notes that children with COVID-19 have milder effects and better prognoses than adults. However, children are susceptible to "multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children" (MIS-C), a rare but life-threatening systemic illness involving persistent fever and extreme inflammation following exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The wearing of non-medical face masks in public to lessen transmission of COVID-19 in the United States was first recommended by the CDC on April 3, 2020 as supplemental to hygiene and appropriate social distancing. Over the course of the pandemic, various states, counties, and municipalities have issued health orders requiring the wearing of non-medical face coverings — such as cloth masks — in spaces and/or businesses accessible to the public, especially when physical distancing is not possible. Some areas only mandated their use by public-facing employees of businesses at first, before extending them to the general public.
Julia Lenore Marcus is an American public health researcher and infectious disease epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School. Her research focuses on improving the implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention in the United States. Marcus is also a popular science communicator, and has contributed to The Atlantic.