Four hundred ninety-six days have passed since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first recommended the wearing of nonmedical face masks in order to lower the transmission rates of COVID-19. This recommendation, and the subsequent mask mandates led to unexpected problems.

Protests in many states echo with repeated shouts of “No more masks!” Doctors and health care workers have written articles and given testimonials that masks are essential. Billboards have popped up along the freeways and highways of the country both pleading with citizens to wear masks and to disregard them.

I am not a medical professional. I am more concerned with the politicization of the issue. With all due respect to political leaders, why do we listen to them regarding pathology — a subject in which most elected leaders have a severely limited understanding? Who decided that Republicans should be against masks and Democrats should be for them?

Take climate change. This year, Western states experienced record-breaking heat waves. Fires and floods have permeated the news. For the first time in history, smoke from wildfires in the continental United States reached the North Pole. Towns in Germany were destroyed by flooding. Looking purely at these situations from a scientific perspective, they are due to climate change. This too, however, has become a political battleground.

Instead of looking at the true facts of COVID-19 or climate change, people are looking at what their favorite political party is saying. People are not looking to medical or meteorological experts for advice and knowledge, and instead are looking to congressmen and representatives. Nothing is being solved.

If we could take the politics out of problems and instead look at them with a unified purpose and perspective, catastrophes could be avoided, lives could be saved, and a more peaceful, harmonious society could thrive.

Mark Child

Pleasant Grove, UT