Society of Bioethics and Medicine
Who Suffers From Anti-Maskers?
By - Marium Ghobriel, Edited By - Lok-Yee Lam
Social media has revealed that many did not partake in social distancing over the past months, broadcasting the vacations and events that celebrities, influencers, and other public figures have posted about. Despite news sources, medical professionals, and healthcare advocates pushing for social distancing and strict safety measures, much of the general public has expressed that they have reached their limit when it comes to the coronavirus, and an alarming amount of people flat out deny its existence. The mandated lockdown over the spring and summer of 2020 was unsuccessful, with December being the deadliest month the United States has seen — over 77,000 people lost their lives to the disease (Acevedo). An undeniably major reason for this was large gatherings of people, despite warnings from the higher-ups. Dr. Fauci, Dr. Gupta, and other healthcare professionals have expressed their concern for Americans choosing to ignore the guidelines for managing the coronavirus. Many deny the statistics of the virus and believe this entire pandemic is a hoax. Nearly 40% of Americans believe that the COVID-19 death toll has been exaggerated by the government (Ehrenreich), but why? Who exactly are the pandemic ignorers and deniers, and how much are they to blame for the intensity of COVID-19?
Former President Donald Trump has repeatedly taken jabs at President Joe Biden and others for consistently following CDC guidelines, and has outright stated during one of his rallies that the virus affects “virtually no-one”. Devout Republicans and Trump supporters did not take his words lightly, and disregard public safety for the sake of individual comfort. This demographic is overwhelmingly made up of white people that live in white-dominated areas. The virus and other healthcare concerns disproportionately affect Black and Hispanic neighborhoods, where medical treatment is not on par with white suburbs. While President Trump’s supporters refuse to wear masks and stay 6 feet apart, they are more likely to recover from COVID-19 in the unfortunate chance they do receive it, due to the adequate healthcare they are likely to receive. However, this is not as true when it comes to the Black and Hispanic population, where hospitals are more likely to be overcrowded and have worse conditions. The probability of this demographic dying of the disease is 2.8 times that of white patients (US Census). Racism is no stranger to the medical world — Black people are less likely to be taken seriously by physicians, and the lack of access to insurance and financial ability to receive care means that many do not even try to get the help they need. A 2017 census report stated that 10.6% of African Americans and 16.1% of Latinx Americans were uninsured, compared to 5.9% of white Americans (Berchick). While white Republican Americans are protesting the mask and social distancing rules in an effort to protect their “freedom”, people of color are experiencing the worst effects of this pandemic.
Acevedo, N. (2021, January 1). December was the deadliest, most infectious month since the start of the pandemic. NBC.
Berchick, E., et al. (2018, September 12). Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2017. United States Census Bureau.
CDC. (2020, November 30). COVID-19 Hospitalization and Death by Race/Ethnicity. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Ehrenreich, J. (2021, January 11). Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories. Slate.