Masks Should Not Embolden Risk-Taking
by Joseph Kulesza ’22
Despite all of the controversy surrounding masks, the vast majority of people do not have an issue with wearing them. According to a KFF Health Tracking poll, 87% of Democrats, 71% of independents, and 55% of Republicans report that they wear masks every time they leave their home.
It only seems like common sense that wearing face coverings would reduce the spread of an airborne illness: the fabric, polypropylene, or other synthetic fibers trap aerosol particles and larger droplets that leave our noses and mouths, preventing them from becoming suspended in the air.
If most people do not take issue with masks, and science proves they are an effective tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19, then why are masks not a silver bullet for ending the pandemic?
Part of the issue with masks is psychological. Though wearing a mask can protect you and others from transmitting the virus, it can also embolden riskier behavior. This increased willingness to take on risk is explained by a psychological term known as risk compensation.
This same principle of risk compensation was seen in the NFL, as a study concluded that newer helmets worn by players actually resulted in more injuries, given that players made riskier moves as a result of their false sense of security.
Yes, masks are designed to protect you and those around you. However, masks should not be viewed as indestructible armor that permits you to engage in risky behavior. People must still follow social distancing guidelines, refrain from unnecessary travel, and adhere to other safety protocols even if they are sporting a mask.
Masks and helmets aside, the greatest protection against injury or illness is common sense. With a new semester beginning, the Providence College community needs to use common sense to keep everyone safe.
Jill Biden: Qualified and Inspiring FLOTUS
by Erin Garvey ’22
As America watches President Joseph Biden begin his presidential term, we also look in anticipation at Dr. Jill Biden. Dr. Biden displayed some of her valuable traits during her time as the second lady for eight years. She was able to learn and grow under former First Lady Michelle Obama, seeing what a true first lady must represent. The two possess many similarities, including the confidence to share their values.
Despite only being in office for a few weeks, Dr. Biden has already expressed her largest concerns and her plans for implementing new policies. She is a large supporter of education, as seen by her decision to become a teacher. With her love and passion for education, it was not surprising that Dr. Biden expressed an interest in improving the current education system in the United States.
In fact, not only has Dr. Biden promised to create change during her time in the White House, she has also expressed that she intends to continue working as a professor while serving as FLOTUS. This indicates her genuine passion for education and also means that she can serve as a strong role model for members of our nation. Dr. Biden’s career-driven attitude is inspiring, and this is something that our country can benefit from as we aim to battle against traditional gender roles.
Although the Biden family has only recently set up shop in the White House, the qualities that Dr. Biden has already demonstrated during her short time as FLOTUS are extremely encouraging.