Ops Blog | When should we mask up?

The Daily Iowan Opinions Staff discusses whether to mask up this flu season.


Johnny Jarnagin

Photo illustration of a face mask in Burge Residence Hall on Wednesday Sept. 7, 2022.

DI Opinions Staff

Peter Anders

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to do many things we otherwise would prefer not to do. One of the more controversial things we had to do to mitigate the spread of the virus was wear mask. With the onset of winter approaching, there is a fair question of whether these masking trends should continue. I would argue in certain cases, such as someone who must leave their residence but is infected with the virus, they should be required to wear a mask. In a hospital setting, everyone should also have to wear a mask without exception due to the vulnerability of many of the patients. Otherwise, until another surge occurs, I do not think we need to mask back up in all cases.

Luke Krchak

Unlike COVID-19, I don’t think masks should be a requirement nor necessarily a norm for cold and flu season. In the pandemic, we saw flu cases decrease alongside the use of protocols like masks, social distancing, and quarantining. While one of those protocols was masks, it was only a small part of the decrease in cases. I would say if you feel like you’re at more of a risk or that others are, go and wear a mask. But don’t assume everyone needs to wear one because the main deterrence for flu season is still getting the flu vaccine every year.

Elise Cagnard

Since the pandemic started, there have been lots of speculation flying around on what the future of masking should be. I believe the best path forward is to keep masks implemented in certain occupations. This includes, but is not limited to, food service. Having the people who handle your food mask up could stop the transmissions of an untold amount of sickness and germs. Additionally, while a person might not have COVID-19, any malady can easily be spread in the food industry, so taking this simple step can have exponential benefits to the patrons of these restaurants.

Abby Gaugler

The pandemic put the world in a unique situation where most of the general population now has access to products that keep others’ health protected. Masks should become a common courtesy when you feel under the weather. Over the past few years of living with COVID-19, it has been proven that masks reduce the transmission of illnesses from person to person. If you are sick and absolutely must go somewhere outside of your home, you should mask up in order to keep those around you healthy, especially if that place is indoors. Whether or not you wear a mask in open air is up to you, but it would certainly show a level of respect for the wellbeing of others.

Shahab Khan

Masking up should be seen as a precaution when one is sick. Traditionally, in the U.S., when one is sick, there is no precedent to wear a mask. However, in the post-pandemic era, it ought to become one. Masks keep people safe and allow those not feeling well to participate in society while minimizing the risk of a disease spreading. At the same time, if people do not want to wear masks, it is acceptable for them not to wear masks especially. Especially since there are plenty of vaccines going around. In short, if someone is fully vaccinated, wearing a mask should be an option albeit one that should be encouraged.

Chris Klepach

Masking has become a staple of public medical practice since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, I feel like wearing a mask has never been something we had to consider before in the past. Just a shy three years ago, wearing a mask was something only those who were sick and concerned with spreading their germs would do. Now, even if you don’t carry an infectious disease, public avenues like medical buildings, libraries, and certain theatres make masking mandatory. Masking should be a choice.

Kyle Tristan Ortega

With COVID-19 cases dwindling, wearing masks has become somewhat situational. When deciding when to mask up, one of the most important things to consider is location and situation. If you’re outdoors and no one is around, you can probably get away with not wearing a mask. However, when you are indoors in a public space, it is highly encouraged that you wear a mask as this will drastically lessen the risk of you and others getting sick. Moreover, masks generally make some people feel more comfortable and secure, so be sure to take that into consideration when entering public spaces.

Naomi Rivera

The mask question depends on an individual’s situation. If you are someone at high risk, it’s best to mask up when going into buildings and being around large groups of people. If you are at low risk, you have some things to keep in mind. Remember that there are individuals around you who may need protection for themselves or for family/friends. In addition, there are vaccinations, which put you at a better health standing. So, mask up if you need to, or want to, and if you don’t, be mindful of those around you. Practice healthy habits and keep a good, respectful distance.

Evan Weidl

People should mask in public whenever they feel sick to prevent the spreading of the sickness to others. Wearing a mask when you are sick is a very simple thing that one can do to help keep others healthy. Wearing a mask is an extremely minor inconvenience, and there are very few things you can’t do while wearing a mask. Additionally, in the age of coronavirus, it is hard to tell what is a cold or flu and what is COVID-19. Wearing a mask when you’re sick is a very easy way to show empathy to others and keep people safe.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.