CHOC teen advisers encourage peers to wear masks during COVID-19

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, some teens are struggling with staying home more than usual, disappointment over canceled events, and wearing masks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the use of cloth face coverings in public for those over age 2. The governor of California has mandated that face coverings be worn by the general public when outside the home. Read the full order, including exemptions, here.

Being a teenager isn’t easy. Sometimes it’s helpful to get advice from a parent or trusted mentor, but sometimes as a teenager you just want to hear straight from other teens.

CHOC’s teen advisory council – a group of outstanding teens who are active in their community, committed to academic success and support CHOC’s mission – share their perspective on why wearing masks during COVID-19 is important, and their advice for other teens struggling with this aspect of the pandemic.

Noah, a CHOC teen adviser, in a photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic

Noah, age 16

My mom works at CHOC Hospital, so I understand why face coverings are required. I believe it is important to wear a mask because it has proven to help slow down the spread of COVID-19. People should take responsibility and wear a mask, so hopefully we can go back to our daily lives.

None of my friends have the same medical background as my mom does, so they don’t understand why masks are required and how they help slow down the spread. It is obvious that my friends do not like wearing masks, but they wear them when they have to.

I would say to teens or people in general that they should take responsibility and just wear the mask because they are either helping slow down the spread or keeping themselves safer than when they aren’t wearing a mask. In this case, helping yourself is helping the needs of others.

Lauren, a CHOC teen adviser, in a photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic

Lauren, age 15

Wearing a mask is essential to protecting not only yourself, but others around you. It is extremely important to be courteous of others to wear a face mask to save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic is particularly dangerous for those with underlying health conditions so wearing a mask and taking necessary precautions (limiting outings, frequently washing your hands thoroughly or using hand sanitizer, etc.) to stay healthy will help flatten the curve!

Some of my friends are really passionate about preventing the spread of COVID-19 and have gone the extra mile to make and sell masks or make stickers to continue spreading awareness.

To teens who don’t feel like it’s important to wear face coverings in public, I would tell them that by not wearing a face covering, it is putting everyone around them at risk. Not wearing a face covering compromises the safety and health of everyone that they interact with, especially the elderly and/or those with underlying health conditions. It is vital for everyone to do their part during this pandemic to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Andei, a CHOC teen adviser, in a photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic

Andei, age 17

Masks have become the new normal and as uncomfortable as they are it is required again. We have to make the best of it. As much as I would love to stop wearing them, it is what is best for the time being. For now, all we can do is do what’s best for our nation and our loved ones around us. Let keep fighting strong and with hope there is a solution in sight.

Hopefully in the near future we can actually see each other’s faces and beautiful smiles.

Carina, a CHOC teen adviser, in a photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic

Carina, age 17

I feel it’s important to wear a mask because it helps ensure that others who may be vulnerable, like grandparents or the immunocompromised, are not put at risk. Wearing a mask also reassures me that I am keeping the ones I love safe by doing my part, which is very fulfilling considering how small the action of wearing a mask may seem. I feel that wearing a mask shows your consideration for others while also slowing the spread of COVID-19.

My friends do wear masks while going out, whether it be to go grocery shopping or just for a drive around the block. The idea of wearing a mask isn’t a polarizing issue between my friends since they understand it’s for their protection and the protection of others. Some of my friends also have relatives that live with them who may be at greater risk which makes them more inclined to wear a mask when going out.

To teenagers that do not feel it’s essential to wear a mask in public, I would encourage them to think about all the other people they could possibly affect without even realizing if they don’t wear a mask.

Zoe, a CHOC teen adviser, in a photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic

Zoe, age 16

I believe masks are essential because they are proven to be very effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19. If I knew someone was not wearing a face covering in public, I would show them statistics of how the virus impacts people who wear face coverings versus those who do not. I found those numbers to be very eye opening.

I think that masks are quickly becoming a new way to simultaneously accessorize and slow the spread of COVID-19. I find masks to be a fun and interesting new way to express yourself.

Sam, a CHOC teen adviser, in a photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic

Sam, age 13

By wearing face masks, we are doing our part in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and showing courtesy to others.

For the sake of everyone, please wear a mask out in public. Not only does this slow the spread, but it shows courtesy and respect to others around you.

Christian, a CHOC teen adviser, in a photo taken before the COVID-19 pandemic

Christian, age 17

I believe it is extremely important that everyone participate in wearing a mask. We are all in this pandemic together and we will only overcome it if we all work together in stopping the spread.

Wearing a mask shows respect for others’ well-being and helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. We all must take this pandemic seriously and heed the guidance of scientists and medical professionals who understand the virus and the best way to overcome this pandemic.

To other teens who don’t feel like wearing a mask is important, I would try to convey the importance of wearing a mask to stop the spread of the virus. Leading health agencies have advised us to wear masks; we should practice their recommendations. Wearing a mask is a public health issue that can save lives.

This article was updated on July 22, 2020.

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