SAVANNAH, GA – Masks are the new accessories for everyone across the nation. While face mask usage has increased due to health reasons, they are still presented as a fashionable trend. The Coronavirus, or COVID-19, has drastically increased in the United States, affecting the young and elderly. While there is quite an amount of people getting sick, and some that have died, it is important that everyone protect themselves. Surgical masks and cloth masks have become a necessity for many.

With the increase of COVID-19, face masks are used more than ever. They are becoming a steady trend for everyone. More specifically, a fashion trend. When stepping outdoors, there are a great number of people wearing colorful face masks with patterns. Some have flowers, the American flag, peace signs, and even tie-dye. The colorful face masks can even be paired with a corresponding outfit. “I have a few masks that I keep in my car. I have maybe nine or ten, I believe. They all have different patterns so none of them are the same,” Alexia Burns, a student at Georgia Southern University, said. “Also, since I work at Walmart, I have a blue Walmart mask that they gave the employees. I wear that mask every time I go to work, but it’s not mandatory.”

During the peak of the Coronavirus, many did not believe that the virus was real or that it would rise to become a bigger problem. When doctors and other medical professionals suggested that everyone should wear face masks just to be safe, many did not think that it was necessary at all. “I honestly thought that it was just something that would come and go. When I saw the news about it spreading over there in China, I didn’t think it would

spread to us so quickly … or even at all,” Janie Smith, a student at Valdosta State University, said. “At first I thought wearing a mask was too much but now I can’t even leave the house without one,” she continued. Once the virus started to rise in the states and become a serious problem, many governors requested that people wear masks out in public. Some cities have even made it mandatory for citizens to wear masks when they enter public places.

There are three main types of masks that people wear now. Surgical, cloth, and N95 respirator masks. The surgical masks are the most common in the healthcare environment. Surgical masks protect against large droplets, bodily fluids, and other splashes towards the face. However, they are not filtered. These masks appear to be blue and white. The blue side is to be worn on the outside as it is a filter for large droplets. At the beginning of the pandemic, most people would be seen with only surgical masks. These masks were bought so quickly that they became very rare to find in an essential store. Many have gone to the extreme to order surgical masks online for a higher price than what they are sold in an essential store. Now, months later, there are only a few people in public that wear these surgical masks. Since they are so plain and relatively thin, these are not worn as much because they are less fashionable.

Cloth masks aren’t the most effective masks, but they are the most common and popular. While they help prevent spreading the virus, they will not protect from inhaling the virus. These masks are the most worn because they are seen as a fashion trend. Many of these use a colorful pattern and a way of promoting many businesses. Cloth masks became popular when the surgical masks became harder to find. Many people decided that it would be cheaper to make their masks. Cloth masks became a hit for fashion more than a way of protection.

N95 respirator masks are the most effective masks to wear. They are tight-fitting and filters approximately 95% of airborne particles. N95 masks are the least worn masks.

While wearing masks have never been a trend previously, it will become a trend not only in the United States but in all other countries as well. Venezuela, Vietnam, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Colombia, and many others have made it mandatory to wear face masks in public. Many of the states in America have yet to make it mandatory to wear masks in public around everyone else. “It’s smart. Wearing masks should be mandatory. They’re doing it right and we need to get on board. No one should walk out of their house without a mask. It should be our new reality,” says Colby Johnson, a student at Georgia Southern. According to Statista, 49 percent of college students reported that they always wear face masks out in public while 4 percent reported that they never wear face masks in public.

Months have passed since the announcement of the Coronavirus and face masks have become a new phenomenon. Wearing face masks have not also become a trend in being healthy and safe, but also a fashion trend. Cloth masks are the most popular. Many entrepreneurs have created their cloth masks to sell. Many citizens, specifically young adults, find it enjoyable to wear a mask with different designs and logos. Many big companies have decided to create their cloth masks for their employees. Chick-Fil-A.

For example, have cow designed masks for many of their employees. “I work there and most of us have on these cow-like masks that we have to wear during our shifts. It’s kind of irritating that we have to wear them for hours but they’re really cute,” says Kayla Carter, an employee at Chick-Fil-A. Other businesses and institutions such as Zaxby’s and universities have created their masks for promotion and recognition. While the Coronavirus has unemployed many people, leaving them with no jobs, instead many have started their businesses with cloth masks.

While the Coronavirus will continue to grow in the United States, the use of face masks will be the new norm. As many more people get used to wearing a face covering, new businesses of face masks and face coverings will stay in headline news. This trend is something that came unexpected and unwanted. Now six months later, it is something that no one can resist.

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