California Governor Gavin Newsom recently made wearing face masks mandatory. The new order comes after some rebellion against instructions to wear face coverings as Californians claim it is an infraction on their personal freedom.
Newsom’s decision follows an all-time-high number of daily new cases in California.
However, Californians are not alone in refusing to wear face masks; a recent story on The Washington Post reports a man being kicked off his flight after refusing to wear a face mask at LaGuardia Airport. Brandon Straka would not comply with American Airlines on-flight policy and ignored the crew members’ instructions to put on a mask. He was then asked to leave the plane and was eventually banned from the airline for as long as the American Airlines mask requirement is in place. In one of his recent posts on Twitter, he claimed that “sanity” was what was keeping him from wearing one. One of the passengers on the flight was Astead Herndon, a reporter for The New York Times, who decided to comment on Straka’s tweet to share what he had witnessed during the interaction. Following Hendon’s input, Straka admitted that the scenario he described was hypothetical and meant to be taken as a joke.
Why won’t Americans wear face coverings?
The most efficient way to get people to comply to new rules is to lead by example. Nevertheless government officials are often seen in public without a face mask, often for political reasons. Thus, people perceive it as a personal choice with personal consequences, such as Straka. They could not be more wrong. Health is not politics.
A recent study announced that wearing a face mask can lead to a 40% decrease of daily new infections. Not only does scientific research point at the benefits of wearing a face mask, we have seen proof of its efficiency. Japan had included wearing face masks in its culture before the spread of Covid-19. Hence, the country did not experience difficulty in getting its residents to wear them. As a result, the daily number of new cases in Japan remained fairly low, especially in comparison to that of the US.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.