She was slammed in the comments, with many pointing out that there was a shortage of PPE equipment world over.
The last thing you want to do during a pandemic is to burn protective equipment, but that's exactly what a woman from North Carolina wants to do. Not only does she wants to burn masks, but she also wants everyone else to do it too. After hearing that wearing masks could become mandatory in the states, Ashley Smith posted a video on Facebook and started what she thought would become the "burn your mask” challenge. The online challenge failed to catch on. Smith's stunt comes at a time America has recorded more than 120,000 deaths from Coronavirus, with North Carolina reporting more than 1,000 deaths. This week alone, ten states recorded the highest number of new Coronavirus cases.
Ashley Smith posted the video on Reopen NC, a Facebook page run by her. “As you know, we’re a group that is completely against mandatory anything. We’re for personal liberty and the Constitution and personal freedom,” said Smith in the video. “I’m standing up and I’m saying ‘I will not comply.’” She also hits out at those wearing masks and falsely claims that they do not help to contain the spread of the virus. Holding up a box of masks, she says, “This does not prevent the spread of Coronavirus. This is not a sign of your compassion or how much you care for any other human being. This is a sign of control.” The health department of the United States clearly states that wearing masks help contain the spread of the virus.
"The virus spreads between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms. In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain," states the CDC. After making the false claims, Smith proceeds to put the mask on a skillet and burns them. She thinks the new challenge is going to catch on. “I think it’s gonna be big,” says Smith before pleading with other people to buy masks to burn them and post the videos with the hashtag #IgniteFreedom. In a parting shot, she says it was made in China anyway.
It's not surprising that the people are ignoring key advice from health experts when the government itself is constantly defying scientific advice. Trump called the pandemic a hoax and claimed it would disappear like a miracle. If the past few months are any indication, things could get worse for America with more than ten states lining up to be the next epicenter of the virus. The Trump administration continues to ignore scientific advice and push for the reopening of the economy. With no support from the federal government on mandating social distancing measures or mask requirements, local governments have taken it upon themselves to set the protocols to protect citizens. With Trump and Republicans constantly playing down the severity of the pandemic, the citizens, primarily white people, and right-wing supporters have been vocal about opposing the idea of wearing masks. They claim it's an infringement of their constitutional rights, not thinking for a second they're also endangering other citizens by refusing to wear masks.
people in my state are ruining their cast iron skillets by setting masks on fire because Roy Cooper said NC is *considering* mandating masks in public. with the hashtag IgniteFreedom. i’m going back to bed— kat 💘 🏳️🌈 (@schrod1ngerskat) June 17, 2020
Many Facebook users called her out for the stupid challenge. Nessrene Doudar, a healthcare worker wrote: The point of a mask is to protect others from YOU, not the other way around. As a healthcare worker, working with Coronavirus patients, I am appalled that you are burning our valuable PPE. If you’ve ever had a loved one in the hospital maybe you’d have a little more compassion and understanding. We need our PPE even if you don’t want to wear it. It is your right not to wear it, but to burn it is complete and utter bullshit.
Julia Burnette pointed out the shortage of PPE equipment at hospitals and wrote: If you don’t want to wear masks, fine, but you could donate them to a cancer center, a free clinic that serves the underinsured, a hospital. I see absolutely no common sense or humanity displayed here. Many others also called out Smith. Michael Ramirez wrote: I love seeing riled up, entitled Karen’s give their two cents on issues they know nothing about. Jon Montgomery wrote: What you have just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I’ve ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. We are all now dumber having listened to it. You will be awarded no points. And may God have mercy on your soul.
Disclaimer: Information about the pandemic is swiftly changing, and Shared is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. Therefore, we encourage you to also regularly check online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization.