This title isn’t poetically Shakespearean, but it is a good question, nonetheless. There are diverse opinions, with some folks feeling strongly one must wear a mask and other folks resisting the whole idea.
Psychologist Dr. Linda Bairnes claims there are two different groups — affiliatives and pragmatics.
The former focus on group needs, rather than just their own needs.
They follow social norms and weigh the possibilities that are for the good of all. They generally are agreeable and interdependent and ask for the cooperation of others, their annoyance triggered by lack of cooperation. They feel that sharing is important. They also comprise about 55 percent of people.
The pragmatics, on the other hand (about 45 percent of people) are individualistic and feel the need to get what they want done.
They value individual merit. They go after “what gets results,” rather than what the needs of the group are. Autonomy is most important to them and their annoyance is triggered by what prevents them from accomplishing their own personal goals.
By using this information, you can easily see the psychology of each group. The pragmatics see an executive order to wear masks or stay home as impeding their freedom and their ability to get things done. They see rules as impediments and are more focused on their individual needs and freedoms.
Again, by using this information from Dr. Bairnes, you can see how the affiliatives feel safer if everyone wears masks and re-emerge into society or the workforce when assured a safe environment.
They are able to see that wearing a mask and social distancing provides a safer environment, particularly for at-risk groups that need protection. They feel that proper social distancing prevents asymptomatic carriers of the virus from infecting innocent people.
To which group do you belong? Dr. Bairnes explains that for peaceful co-existence, we cannot see one side or the other as right or wrong, but simply different.
Not every source agrees with her. Various health news sites report that in India, Uttar Pradesh governments have made wearing face masks compulsory in public places. In Mumbai, the civic body warned of arrests for flouting this order.
And not just in India. Wearing face masks has been made compulsory in a number of other countries. Why? As researchers and doctors gain more knowledge about the virus, it has become apparent that asymptomatic people are spreading the virus.
The CDC says that up to 25 percent of people with the virus may not show symptoms. Some studies also show that COVID-19 may be most infectious when the symptoms are mildest, which means people may be unwittingly spreading it before realizing they even have it. It truly is a dilemma.
Perhaps, to be on the safe side, it’s for the best to follow the medical guidelines: wear a mask in public, wash your hands before putting on your mask, wash a cloth mask after each use, always put the same side against your face, remove the mask by its straps and maintain social distancing of 6 feet.
Is any of this data hyped? Some say yes, some say no. Regardless, you can’t go wrong being considerate of others. That’s what this all amounts to.
JoAnna Swanson lives just outside Waynesville.