It seems many Americans hate being told what to do.
Rejecting authority in favour of individual freedom appears to be an intrinsic part of the cultural DNA of some US citizens.
So it’s no surprise that being told to wear a face mask in public has become a deeply politicised issue – even as the US battles the worst coronavirus infection rate in the world.
Face masks have come to symbolise a heated debate between those willing to follow official health advice and those who feel it violates their freedom.
There are few people more outraged about being told to wear face masks than Karen – the internet’s nickname for stereotypical, entitled white women.
Karen can often be seen asking to speak to store managers, threatening legal action or posting inspirational quotes on Instagram.
More recently in 2020, Karen has been spotted hoarding toilet paper and dismissing the coronavirus pandemic as an issue that has been blown out of proportion.
Now, she is throwing tantrums after being told to wear a face mask.
And social media is loving it.
KAREN AND HER TEARS … pic.twitter.com/HP0Ud21LFO
— gregarious 🏳️🌈 (@gryking) June 27, 2020
— Karens Gone Wild (@karensgonewild_) June 28, 2020
“I never threatened him.” Hear from woman who was denied service at a Clairemont Starbucks for refusing to wear a mask. She publically shamed the barista. A Go Fund Me Page on his behalf is now over $22,000. She says she’s getting death threats. #nbc7 & https://t.co/ylvk5rP6Vf pic.twitter.com/gCREw0LR5V
— Artie Ojeda (@ArtieNBCSD) June 25, 2020
Hilarious public meltdowns aside, resistance to face masks in the US comes with a more sinister side.
Though face masks are not foolproof against COVID-19, a growing body of research suggests that wearing one in public can dramatically reduce the spread of the disease.
It's pathetic that we're at a point where we have selfish idiots who refuse to wear a mask with over 2 mil infections & 123K people dead. pic.twitter.com/HRJtc6grwW
— 🌊MasksSaveLives😷 (@mammaTam55) June 24, 2020
In the US, where case numbers exceed a staggering 2.6 million and more than 128,000 people have died, any action designed to slow the virus is being encouraged by health authorities.
President Donald Trump, however, has so far resisted wearing a face mask – a stance that is often copied by his supporters.
Darren storms the supermarket!! He rages! This dude was not happy he was told to wear a mask at the grocery store. Of course this was in Florida! pic.twitter.com/ZnyVxGMs2T
— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) June 22, 2020