While some individuals are still dismissing expert recommendations to wear face coverings or masks in public, others are sharing stories of regret. As cases of the novel coronavirus increase in the U.S., anti-maskers nationwide are changing their stances as they experience symptoms of the pandemic. By sharing their stories, individuals who once denied the severity of the virus hope they can emphasize the importance of following safety guidelines to stop the spread of COVID-19.
After vocalizing her views against masks, a city official in Arkansas called herself "selfish" and shared that she no longer doubts the use of masks after being diagnosed with COVID-19. "I knew I was going to die, and I knew I was going to do it alone," Sandra Brand told ABC News affiliate News5. Brand has spent over two weeks in the hospital fighting coronavirus alone.
She shared her story with the news outlet and documented her journey on social media, including experiencing high fevers, body aches, and the inability to breathe. "I can breathe for the first time in over two weeks," she said.
This experience in which Brand emphasized being alone has made her not only change her opinion on masks but advocate for people to wear them. "I'm on the city council in Osceola, we were going to be voting on mandatory masks and I was against it. I was like why should they be able to tell me what to do." She added: "If you can stop somebody from coming in this room and feeling the kind of pain and fear that I have felt, why would you want to be that selfish?"
Not everyone against masks has had the opportunity to rethink their stance after experiencing the virus. A number of individuals have tested positive for COVID-19 and died as a result. Luckily, Brand is now in the hospital's COVID-19 Unit where she will be using a trial drug in hopes of a quicker recovery, according to News5.
Some states across the U.S. still have no statewide mandate to wear a mask despite the consistent surge in positive cases the U.S. has seen. In many of these states, viral videos have shown individuals resorting to violence after being asked to wear masks in stores by employees. Last week, the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 1,000 for five days straight yet, the Trump administration continues to fail in its response to the pandemic and individuals nationwide continue to protest mask mandates. Without safety measures in place for all residents of the country to abide by, the coronavirus will continue to spread until a vaccine is found. The coronavirus pandemic is real and deadly. Until the current administration acknowledges this and takes appropriate action, cases will continue to increase.