Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

14 Reasons Why Anyone Would Refuse to Wear a Mask

Let us start this article with a statement which should be considered a logical fact; a foregone scientific conclusion; and assume that it is the absolute truth: masks and coverings for the face are effective at significantly reducing the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

14 Reasons Why Anyone Would Refuse to Wear a Mask

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

More people every day believe that statement — to the point where airlines, lodging companies, and countless other businesses are implementing policies which require employees and customers to wear a mask or covering over their faces in public areas at all times; and to the point where certain “bloggers” and other media regurgitate that point ad nauseum

…so why in the world would anyone in his or her right mind hesitate — let alone outright refuse — to wear a mask or covering for his or her face?

I believe the following 14 reasons explain the rationale — or lack thereof — behind the movement against wearing masks and coverings for the face.

1. Confusion By the Experts.

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

When the World Health Organization officially declared that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus had reached pandemic disease status on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, both that organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention specifically discouraged anyone from wearing masks or coverings for the face of any type — with the exception of qualified people who are employed in the health care profession.

Not until Friday, April 3, 2020 did the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention change course and recommend covering your face with a simple cloth face covering — such as a scarf as one of many examples — in order to slow the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the United States. That recommendation conflicted with the World Health Organization, which still advised against wearing masks for several more weeks before it, too, changed its recommendation.

Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends keeping a minimum distance of six feet from the closest person; while the World Health Organization has long recommended keeping a minimum distance of one meter — or slightly greater than three feet — from the closest person. Who is correct?

Some people claim that the initial recommendation of not to wear masks was due to a significant shortage of them and that the two of the top health organizations were reluctant to recommend them, as they did not want to encourage panic among the general population. Others say that scientific evidence and new information has changed with this new virus, which caused the recommendations to change from not wearing masks and coverings for the face to strongly encourage — to the point of just short of mandating — the practice.

The reason why I personally do not buy that is because that knowledge should have been logical: a covering on the face impedes on the amount of water droplets — which are used as a vehicle for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus to travel — which are dispersed into the air; and therefore should slow a virus or contagious germ of any type from spreading…

…so why were we not all wearing masks during each influenza season? Would we not have saved tens of thousands of lives all these years — especially considering that as many as 46,000 people may have died in the United States alone from influenza during a period of time between Tuesday, October 1, 2019 and Saturday, February 22, 2020?

Wait a minute. Please allow me to correct that statement: according to preliminary statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as many as 62,000 people may have died in the United States alone from influenza during a period of time between Tuesday, October 1, 2019 and Saturday, April 4, 2020 — during which time as many as 56 million cases of influenza may have occurred…

…and this is all with a vaccine and treatment for influenza. Imagine what the numbers might be like without the vaccine and treatment.

Why does a death from contracting the 2019 Novel Coronavirus trump a death caused by influenza — or from most other causes, for that matter?

2. Politics.

White House Washington District of Columbia
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The last sentence you just read was an intentional play on words, as the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has significantly contributed to what is arguably the sharpest divide in the United States since the Civil War.

Unfortunately, 2020 is an election year in the United States — with the current president fighting to stay in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington for four more years against a challenger whose beliefs and ideals are radically different…

…and because the liberal and conservative movements seem bent to promote their agendas at all costs — even to the point of harming the very constituents they swore to serve and bet against them — a pandemic is the perfect distraction with which to sneak in their ultimate objectives while wanting each other to fail miserably…

…even if that means totally botching the preparedness and execution of either preventing or fighting the pandemic. After all, the resistance to masks by many does seem to relate directly to the idea that there is a vested interest in the extreme members of one political side believing in near compete governmental control.

Unfortunately, politics has pervaded every aspect of our society — including travel — in recent months…

…to the point where they have been dictating virtually every aspect of our society — including its future. It behooves both those who are trying to gain power to undermine the word of the current president of the United States — as well as current president of the United States to show as much clout as possible in order to maintain the status quo.

In my opinion, politics have had way too much weight on the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic — mostly for all of the wrong reasons — instead of relying on science and logic to help guide society towards the best solution as quickly as possible…

…and I have heard people state that because of the political environment which currently plagues the United States, the country has become the laughing stock of the rest of the world — and suddenly as a result, the United States is pitied instead of envied.

3. Lack of Information — and Testing.

At the time this article was written, at least 607,781 people — or slightly greater than 4.17 percent — have died of the minimum of 14,562,550 confirmed cases worldwide, according to this situation dashboard from the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus…

…but at the same time, at least 611,598 people — or almost 4.14 percent — have died of the minimum of 14,774,887 confirmed cases worldwide, according to this situation dashboard from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus…

…so which source is considered correct? Perhaps the discrepancy is merely a timing issue as to when the data is published by each source.

Moreover, how in the world can we even have statistics which are even close to accurate if the tests for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus are themselves not accurate — especially when not nearly everyone has been tested?

Regardless of which source is closer to being correct with the statistics, the population of the world is currently at almost 7.8 billion people. Using the higher statistics from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, that means that 0.19 percent of the population have confirmed cases of 2019 Novel Coronavirus, with almost 0.008 percent of the population having died from it.

At the time this article was written, at least 140,630 people — or slightly greater than 3.68 percent — have died of the minimum of 3,819,139 confirmed cases in the United States, according to this situation dashboard from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — and with an estimated population of 331,002,651 people, that means that slightly greater that 0.04 percent of the population of the United States have died from it.

With those statistics, are we really fighting a killer virus — or has the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic been blown so way out of proportion when compared to its death rate and the death rates of other contagious diseases?

4. Automatic Blind Acceptance.

Despite the statistics you just read, some people have become increasingly vehement about everyone wearing masks — to the point where they claim that those who do not wear masks or coverings for their faces as disrespectful or “having blood on their hands” — and these are people who automatically blindly accept what they read or hear without knowing the reasoning behind what they accept…

…even if that means unwittingly doing more harm in the process than good.

Before taking a position on issues, I strive to at least know as much as I can about it while simultaneously keeping an open mind to all ideas, thoughts, theories, suggestions, recommendations, and facts. Even then, I may not be completely convinced about the resolution of an issue — but the most important part to me is keeping an open mind while engaging in constructive discourse.

Sadly, that seems to be happening less often every day…

5. Hopping Aboard the Latest “Cool” Bandwagon.

Along with such movements as Occupy Wall Street, Me Too, and Black Lives Matter, some people tend to practice something known as virtue signaling, which is “the sharing of one’s point of view on a social or political issue, often on social media, in order to garner praise or acknowledgment of one’s righteousness from others who share that point of view, or to passively rebuke those who do not”, according to this definition from

Virtue signaling has been increasing with regard to the wearing of masks or coverings on the face. Some people think that by being vocal about scolding people who do not wear masks — especially when they do not know the reason behind that supposed defiance — they are saving lives while being “cool”.

They’re not. Rather, they are simply being little more than annoying…

…and some people go so far as to say that anyone who is concerned about people who do not wear masks or coverings for their faces would be better off simply isolating themselves at home in order to stay safe.

6. Pre-Existing Health Conditions.

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

According to this article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Cloth face coverings should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.”

Some people who may appear to be perfectly healthy may legitimately fall within the aforementioned group of people who should not wear a mask or cloth covering on their faces.

That is not to say that an unscrupulous group of people may use the Americans with Disabilities Act to their advantage to “fake” belonging to that aforementioned group of people solely so that they do not have to wear a mask or cloth covering on their faces…

…but employees of airlines, lodging companies, and other businesses are limited by law to the questions they are permitted to ask passengers about the nature of their disabilities. Additional information is available at the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice of the United States pertaining to the Americans with Disabilities Act — which is more commonly known as the ADA.

7. Potential Degradation of Freedom and Rights.

Flags Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park
Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.

For the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, “a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated”, according to this article pertaining to contact tracing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “In jurisdictions with testing capacity, symptomatic and asymptomatic close contacts to patients with confirmed and probable COVID-19 should be evaluated and monitored. For areas with insufficient testing support and/or limited public health resources, the following evaluation and monitoring hierarchy (Box 4) can be used to help guide prioritization. The hierarchy is based on the assumption that if close contacts listed in Priority 1 become infected, they could potentially expose many people, those at higher risk for severe disease, or critical infrastructure workers. If close contacts in Priority 2 become infected, they may be at higher risk for severe disease, so prompt notification, monitoring, and linkage to needed medical and support services is important.”

Contact tracing sounds like a great way to help slow down the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic; but to some people, it smacks more of an invasion of privacy and freedom — and masks and cloth coverings for the face represent the most obvious symbols of that invasion of privacy and freedom.

Furthermore, some people feel that the mere requirement of wearing a mask or covering for the nose and mouth is an infringement upon their rights and their freedom, which is addressed as a part of our “new normal” in section 9 later in this article.

8. Adversely Affecting Travel.

Airplane taking off at sunset
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

For almost 19 years, passengers have been removing their shoes at security checkpoints in the United States to pass through body scanners before they can continue to the gate area for their flights because a man named Richard Reid allegedly attempted to ignite explosives in his shoes while aboard an airplane which operated as American Airlines flight 63 from Paris to Miami on Saturday, December 22, 2001 — and that procedure is expected to continue into the foreseeable future with no end in sight.

For 14 years, passengers have been limited to carrying a limited amount of liquids and gels in transparent quart zippered bags throughout their journeys worldwide because at least ten members of Al Qaeda plotted to mix liquids aboard airplanes to create a mixture volatile enough to explode and destroy an airplane during a flight — and that procedure is expected to continue into the foreseeable future with no end in sight.

Those incidents are only two of many examples which caused permanent inconveniences for travelers over the decades — and some travelers understandably fear that the requirement of wearing masks or cloth coverings over the face will become yet another of a growing list of permanent inconveniences to be added to what is supposed to be routine travel.

9. A Part of Our “New Normal” — Indefinitely.

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

Speaking of permanent, could the pervasive requirement of wearing masks and cloth coverings for the face become a part of our “new normal” indefinitely? After all, I did ask earlier in this article as to “why were we not all wearing masks during each influenza season?” Would we not have saved tens of thousands of lives all these years — especially considering that as many as 62,000 people may have died in the United States alone from influenza during a period of time between Tuesday, October 1, 2019 and Saturday, April 4, 2020 from as many as 56 million cases of influenza may have occurred during that time?

That is another freedom of which some people fear — but others refute that by stating that we are already required to wear seat belts when in a moving motor vehicle and we must wear a minimum amount of clothing when out in public; so wearing a mask or covering for the face is no different and does not mitigate the freedom of citizens of the United States.

I can see why someone would introduce those comparisons to prove a point; but I do not fully subscribe to them because wearing a mask or cloth covering for the face while casually walking near someone is not equivalent to wearing clothing or using a seat belt — both of which people were conditioned to do over the years since they were young enough to remember anything.

In fact, I realized something during the infancy of this pandemic: whenever I pass nearby someone whom I do not know, I automatically hold my breath for a few seconds; and I have been doing so for years.

Would that not be just as effective as wearing a mask? Perhaps that is yet another reason why I have not been ill due to a contagious disease — not even the common cold — in years?

10. Discomfort.

In addition to limiting the number of water droplets which are dispersed into the air, masks and coverings for the face also impede upon the amount of air flowing when we breathe; and some people find that to be uncomfortable — especially when wearing them for hours on end throughout the day.

Moreover, the discomfort extends to eyesight, as people who wear glasses or spectacles find that their breath fogs them because the hot air — which is exhaled from the nose and mouth — rises to the glasses due to the mask or covering for the face redirecting the air upwards, as warm air naturally rises.

People who refute the discomfort may argue that personnel in the medical field who must constantly wear masks — but others disagree with that argument by stating that not only is wearing masks an important and inherent part of their jobs; but they do not wear them 24 hours per day, seven days per week; and they also wear sterile masks in isolated situations.

11. Possible Health Hazard.

Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

In reference to studies, some people point out that wearing a mask or covering for the face may actually be bad for your health because they cause both decreased levels of oxygen and increased levels of carbon dioxide in the body due to the impeded air flow when breathing, which has been refuted by such organizations as the American Lung Association. It is obviously not like putting a plastic bag over your head and tying it tight around your neck so that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus would have no possible chance of entering your body — but then, neither could any oxygen; and you would suffocate, which is obviously not recommended.

Some conspiracy theories helped to fuel this fire. For example, Judy Mikovitz — who is a doctor, scientist, and virologist — said at the 20:27 marker into a film called Plandemic that “Wearing the mask literally activates your own virus. You’re getting sick from your own reactivated coronavirus expressions; and if it happens to be SARS-CoV-2, then you’ve got a big problem.”

This statement — as well as other claims which were stated throughout the film, which became viral over social media — were discredited by such entities and publications as Science Magazine: “Mikovits also accuses Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and a prominent member of the White House’s Coronavirus Task Force, of being responsible for the deaths of millions during the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The video claims Mikovits was part of the team that discovered HIV, revolutionized HIV treatment, and was jailed without charges for her scientific positions”, according to this article written by Martin Enserink and Jon Cohen. “Science fact-checked the video. None of these claims are true. The video is an excerpt from a forthcoming movie Plandemic, which promises to ‘expose the scientific and political elite who run the scam that is our global health system.’”

Believing the claims from Plandemic can be understandable when the quality and production of the film is slick and professional enough for the information to be believable — regardless of how implausible that information should seem in terms of logic and data — which is why the film became a viral sensation across all platforms of social media earlier this year…

…but countless other claims of wearing masks or coverings for your face being a hazard to your health are still circulating out their on all platforms of social media.

12. Fashion — and Vanity.

Let’s face it — some people are superficial and shallow; and because the face is the most recognizable part of the body, those people would automatically eschew wearing masks or cloth coverings for the face.

Some people in the fashion industry are attempting to create masks and cloth coverings for the face that are fashionable and trendy. In fact, masks are being used to coordinate with outfits, uniforms for sports teams — or simply to make a statement and speak their minds, similar to messages and images which are printed on T-shirts and bumper stickers.

13. Stubbornness — and Defiance.

Many people wear their masks or coverings for their faces improperly — such as not covering their noses or their mouths — so why should someone who does not want to wear a mask or covering for his or her face want to do so?

When confronted with a constant barrage of scolding by others — especially people who are unknown — some people will act out in defiance simply for the sake of doing so.

Other people are simply stubborn and closed-minded.

Come to think of it, both of those statements apply to all sides of the issue of whether masks or coverings for the face should be worn…

14. Lack of Trust.

As explained in part or in whole by the other 13 reasons on this list, a prevalent lack of trust became the result, as people do not seem to know who to definitively believe anymore.

In fact, I myself even asked who I can trust as sources for articles at The Gate pertaining to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic anymore in this article on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Rumors and conspiracy theories abound in mass quantities as they wend their way through every last corner of both traditional media and social media, as John Oliver of Last Week Tonight discusses in his latest video.

Think about it: at no other time in the history of this planet have human beings been able to communicate information around the world so widespread, so easily, and so quickly — whether that information is viable and credible, or simply “fake” news and “yellow” journalism.

In addition to the aforementioned conspiracy theories espoused by Plandemic, other research has come forth.

“Masks and respirators do not work”, according to this paper by Denis G. Rancourt, who is a researcher for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association and earned his Doctor of Philosophy fom the University of Toronto. “There have been extensive randomized controlled trial (RCT) studies, and meta-analysis reviews of RCT studies, which all show that masks and respirators do not work to prevent respiratory influenza-like illnesses, or respiratory illnesses believed to be transmitted by droplets and aerosol particles.”

But Denis G. Rancourt is not without controversy either, as he has been accused by the University of Ottawa — which is his former employer — of allegedly committing questionably ethical issues.

“Further Comment: From New England Journal of Medicine: Universal Masking in Hospitals:” is what Bob B — who is a reader of The Gateposted in this comment in response to this article pertaining to face mask requirements to become standard at lodging properties in the United States “… ‘We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.’ . About 150,000 people die worldwide everyday and in USA ‘covid’ deaths are primarily elderly people in Nursing homes/ long term facilities.. Why treat Marriott hotels like being in a hospital where you expect sick patients?’”

So who do you ultimately believe?!?


Photograph ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

I have said it before, and I will say it again: this current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic has been so horribly mishandled from the beginning because of inept and greedy leadership, misguided politics, the viral spread of misinformation across all platforms of social media, the irresponsible and purposeful tactics of traditional media to scare its viewers and readers in their desperate quest to garner more of an audience for increased advertising dollars, the confusing and contradicting recommendations and advice from entities who are supposed to be the foremost experts in the world, used merely as a marketing ploy for countless companies who sought to benefit, and the irresponsible knee-jerk overreaction of shutting down the world economy after the pandemic was allowed to spread around the world.

Also, neither a vaccine nor treatment will completely eliminate the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — just as influenza returns every year. We have no choice but to learn to live with this virus — just like we have for countless other diseases and illnesses.

What should have happened is that the 2019 Novel Coronavirus should have been immediately reported to health agencies around the world when it was first discovered in Wuhan in China so that it could be contained as soon as possible. The tools which the United States purportedly had to combat a pandemic should never have been dismantled. People should have been properly washing their hands thoroughly on a regular basis; distancing from the nearest person should have been practiced; and covering faces — if doing so really truly works — should have been recommended immediately instead of initially actively discouraging people to wear them.

Hindsight is 20/20, as has been said — but will society learn anything from it after this pandemic concludes?

Probably not — but one can always be hopeful…

…and the debate over wearing masks or coverings for the nose and mouth continues

This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV or SARS-CoV-2 or HCoV-19 or severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 — pandemic in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources. Due to the length of this article, the exhaustive list of numerous past articles do not appear here.

All photographs ©2015, ©2016, and ©2020 by Brian Cohen.

  1. You forgot the main one… having common sense! Putting on a ten cent “mask” made in China is not going to do squat… ask a virologist what they wear or simply google it. That’s the only real precaution, everything else is just theatre.

  2. There’s only one reason to not wear a mask: because you’re a selfish jerk who has no consideration for the health and safety of others.

    1. Nicely said. And how about 14 reason why WEAR a mask? I do not recall any country in the world which made such a fuss about mask. Americans pay the price. Unfortunately the one who wear a mask for those jerks who do not.

  3. Ugh.

    Everyone should wear a mask. If the naysayers are wrong, people die. If they are right, who cares. Where the damn mask!

    ps-wear your seatbelt too

  4. You are right, all that stuff should have been done. But it wasn’t, so that’s irrelevant now to controlling the disease. Historians will have a field day with it.

    What is relevant is that we have evidence that locations that started lifting their controls are starting to see a resurgence of cases. A lot of them. Locations that haven’t done so are, for the most part, not seeing this resurgence. Causal connection? Probably.

    So folks just need to trust the scientists to provide the best information and guidance they can, that they’ll admit when they make mistakes and modify that information and guidance, and believe that they’re doing their best in difficult times, and follow the stinking guidance to the best of their ability. Oh, and that minor discrepancies are, in fact, likely due to timing, but could also be due to slight differences in how events are captured and counted. 607K dead, vs 611K dead, this is a discrepancy you felt was worthy of being highlighted? Really? You’re losing the forest for the trees, Brian.

    Yes, there are folks who can’t breathe with a mask on, but there are a whole lot more who simply don’t want the inconvenience, or think that it makes them look weak, or whatever the crappy excuse is, and they clearly haven’t seen enough stories about people who thought the virus was a hoax laying in their hospital beds crying about how they should have listened. Those folks should note that our ‘favorite’ President now says that it’s patriotic to wear a mask, maybe that’ll help…

    My point being that people should just suck it up for the good of everyone around them and we’ll eventually adapt to this in some way.

    Good comparison to seat belts, by the way. When I was growing up nobody wore them, heck, a lot of cars didn’t even have them; now everybody wears them. It’s just a matter of teaching people. Could be that in 20 years everyone will wear masks everywhere they go. And if that’s what it takes, so what?

    Oh, one other thing, some cultures, primarily in Asia I believe, where folks are taught to care about people other than just themselves, already promote wearing masks when you feel sick and many folks wear them whenever they’re out, just because. Maybe there’s a lesson there for us.

    This whole stupid ‘debate’ exhausts me.

  5. As a person with a pre-existing medical condition it doesn’t matter. I’ve been publicly shamed by many who either don’t understand or are too blinded by their own ignorance. This shaming has even occured by those commenting on Boarding Area blogs. I assume some of these folks are the same ones you see walking around outside with mask and gloves on all day or seen driving around alone with their masks on. We’ve entered a strange time for sure.

  6. Regardless of your stance on wearing a mask- one thing is for certain – American should have flattened its curve by now and shouldn’t be spiking in cases , when many other countries are experiencing low cases – But American and Brazil are in the middle of a crisis and the majority of the world has bared American citizens from entering their borders – so great job US, 4 months into a pandemic and the country is still debating basic safety

  7. I believe your last paragraph in section 6 is incorrect. You reference the ADA for service animals as to whether or not businesses can ask about the disability. Please review the following article for additional information. Businesses can ask about a disability someone is claiming and can refuse entry to someone not wearing a mask. The ADA and HIPAA is in place to protect employees from employers, not consumers in a business.

  8. It confounds me why anyone would choose to strap on a mask, stop going to work, or remove their kids from school based on the minuscule chance of contracting a virus that infects less than 1.5% of people and kills less than .05%. This fear-based irrational response is outrageous.

    Furthermore, if these same extreme-safety zealots are so concerned about their health and that of others around them… Why haven’t they enacted these measures over decades of Influenza, HIV, TB, Strep, and a plethora of other contagious disease concerns? Why haven’t they banned cars/motorcycles from the roads and planes from the sky? Why haven’t they outlawed cigarettes, vape pens, alcohol, junk food, and poor exercise regimens? Why??? Because adult Americans have historically maintained a level of choice that allowed them to personally assess most risk factors.
    We. Will. All. Die. Choosing to dramatically restrict our daily lives on the off-chance that we may live a tiny bit longer is a sad, sad way to exist.

    I would expect far more from a group of avid travelers whose passion is supposed to be experiencing the unknown. Quite disappointing.

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