Opinion | 5 reasons you should wear a mask besides the fact that we’re in a global pandemic

By Mackenzie Oster, Staff Columnist

As the number of coronavirus cases in the United States continues to climb with nearly 46,000 new cases in one day, it seems as though face coverings are still questionable accessories for many that roam the streets of Oakland. But the luxuries that come with wearing a face mask are often overlooked. In fact, a recent study published in Health Affairs has provided evidence that mask mandates led to a slower daily COVID-19 growth rate. In case the fact that nearly 172,000 people have died in the United States from the virus isn’t enough reason to wear a mask, here are five more reasons that will specifically benefit you (because if you still refuse to cover your face at this point you clearly don’t care about the well-being of others).


You can go incognito in public

Let’s set the scene. It’s a Monday morning. You awaken to the godforsaken sound of your iPhone alarm. You roll over, push yourself out of bed and make your way to the kitchen for your morning cup of coffee. However, to your dismay, you’re all out of Keurig cups. Aggravated, you decide to take a stroll to your local Starbucks to purchase an overpriced beverage. You contemplate showering because it would be the socially acceptable thing to do in the morning, but you’re tired and already feeling defeated from the day. Nevertheless, you give in and have to spend another hour getting ready to make yourself presentable in the real world. On your walk down the street, you pass familiar faces and are forced to have the awkward small talk that clearly both parties would rather overlook, but once again, it’s the socially acceptable thing to do.

Now, let’s reassess the availability of a face covering. It’s Monday morning, you awaken to the godforsaken sound of your iPhone alarm. You roll over, push yourself out of bed and make your way to the kitchen for your morning cup of coffee. But to your dismay, you’re all out of Keurig cups. You decide to take a stroll to your local Starbucks to purchase an overpriced beverage, so you grab your mask and a dandy pair of sunglasses to greet the overwhelming light that accompanies your venture outdoors. You stroll down the street with a smirk that only you can feel. You might pass familiar faces, but you can’t tell and they can’t either. Your trip is painless. There’s no societal pressure for awkward small talk and you didn’t even have to smile at your creepy neighbor down the street. Life is peaceful, so enjoy it while it lasts and wear your mask.


Women don’t have to wear makeup and men don’t have to shave

Let’s be honest, societal standards are harsh. They push us to make ourselves feel “presentable,” urging women to feel insecure leaving the house without a full face of makeup and urging men to shave their stubbly faces much more often than they’d prefer. It’s unfortunate that such expectations are so heavily pushed upon us, but fear no more because we may actually be able to catch a break.

In fact, a survey conducted by the Bluebirds Revenge revealed that the average man spends 45 days of his life shaving. This equates to a total of about 65,000 minutes and 1,000 hours. Men take an average of five minutes to shave their faces, shaving on average four times a week. Think of all of the other things that could be achieved during this time. Maybe pursue your childhood dream or a long lost passion. The time is yours. 

You may be wondering, when will I ever catch a break from all this pressure? You’re in luck. Now we finally have the perfect excuse to defy the standards without any discomfort, so mask up. 


It helps to shield from the sewer smell of South Oakland 

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory if you’ve ever stepped beyond Forbes Avenue into the depths of South Oakland, but nonetheless it’s still one more convincing benefit of wearing your mask. 


It keeps your face warm in the winter

As the fall season is upon us, it’s becoming more and more clear that COVID-19 is likely to stick around for quite some time now (thanks to all the anti-maskers). As temperatures continue to decline and infection rates continue to climb, the need for face coverings will remain constant. Lucky for us, facing the harsh Pittsburgh winters can even be a little more bearable with the relevancy of face masks. When facing the harsh Pittsburgh winters, throw on your long johns, sweaters, scarves, beanies and face masks for a head-to-toe fabric covering. You’ll be as toasty as ever. This coming winter has nothing on us. 


A breath check

Let’s face it, we’ve all been in that awkward position where you’d much rather not be talking to an individual who must’ve eaten garlic and onions for breakfast, but felt too guilty to say anything, so opted for suffering through the conversation. Fear no more, for your mask also acts as your new breath monitor to ensure that you never have to be that person. 

With one seamless motion, place your mask over your mouth and nose for the most honest representation of your stinky breath. Pop a Mentos for when your breath shield isn’t there and you’re good to go. Thank me later.