The deadly consequences of anti-maskers



An anti-mask protestor with a cut-away mask from a December 2020 rally.

America, the home of the free and the land of … disagreements? As dramatic as that may sound, it’s the perfect word to describe the atmosphere in our country. It seems that no matter the issue, there will always be two opposing sides. Even if the issue isn’t political, but instead regarding our health on an individual or group level.

Masks, in particular, are the latest example of that. A medical accessory that has oddly sparked controversy on a national and local level. There are many who believe that masks aren’t useful at all. To them, masks are simply used to restrict people and ensure that fear is instilled within us at all times. This group of people, who’ve garnered lots of attention over the course of this pandemic, have been dubbed “Anti-Maskers.” 

There is a high chance you yourself have encountered an Anti-Masker. Whether online or in real life, the group has gained quite a reputation for themselves. An infamous one, at that, as the stigma surrounding these types of people is quite prevalent. 

While Anti-Maskers have the complete and total right to voice their oppositions to face coverings, freedom of speech doesn’t ensure freedom of consequences. And when it comes to constant spreading of misinformation and fear mongering, the consequences have quite literally been deadly. 

One example of this is Scott Apely who was a  father, husband, and Texas GOP leader. Apely was a very prominent Anti-Masker, often taking to social media platforms like Facebook to share his views. “I wish I lived in the area!” Apely shared his thoughts on his Facebook page after posting about a mask burning party that took place in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Apely also took to his Facebook page to dub a former Baltimore health commissioner “an absolutely enemy of the people ” for praising news of Pfizer vaccine trials for being effective against COVID-19. These two individual posts clearly illustrate the extent to which Scott Apely loathed face coverings (and any medical protection against the virus, strangely enough). 

It’s easy to laugh at such pure ignorance being spewed from Apely. Even I use to find entertainment in reading such bizarre thoughts from Anti-Maskers, as most of what they say is just so blatantly wrong. If there is anything we’ve learned the past few years, though, it’s that ignorance can cost lives. Especially, in the context of a pandemic. 

Sadly, Scott Apely passed away from COVID-19 at the Galveston Hospital after being sent there for experiencing pneumonia-like symptoms. He left behind his wife Melissa Apely and their newly born baby, both of whom also contracted the virus. 

“I am very saddened to report that H Scott Apley passed away last night at about 3 am,” wrote John Barton, the organizer of Scott & Melissa Gofundme. John also shared his gratitude for the surplus of generous donations meant to help with medical bills. There have been no updates as of yet, except that the fundraiser has reached $46,344 of the $55,000 goal. 

I understand that it is very easy to laugh at Anti-Maskers and their views, but instead of approaching their stances with humor, treat them with seriousness. Remind yourself that the spreading of misinformation is a very dangerous thing. It has very real consequences. Just look at the Apely family, and all that they have been through. Misinformation changed their lives forever. 

Please remember to always rely on facts and science. Masks are fundamental, right now, for both your health and the public. Almost 2 years of wearing face coverings has been very tiresome, but a necessity. We must protect ourselves and loved ones as best as we can. Responsibly wearing a mask may just save your life.