Relating to COVID-19, Masks and Criminality

Heres to the heroes of the Coronavirus pandemic. Thank you to all the nurses, doctors, police officers, military personnel, firefighters, etc on aiding the world in this global, ongoing catastrophe.

On New Year’s Eve, 2019, I had the feeling that 2020 would be great. Just like every New Year felt. But more sentimental in the fact that my childhood was over. The decade I grew up in had ended and 2020 felt like a fresh start to my new adult life, in my 20s. I guess you could say it was the best of times and it was the worst of times, because it actualy was. There was an equal amount of good and bad that happened in 2020, and honestly, it helped me grow as a person.

Although the Coronavirus started in 2019, hence COVID-19, it really put the gas petal to the floor when 2020 rolled around. As mentioned previously, quarantine felt like an eternity, the economy had been destabilized, family and friends were separated for everyone’s health and well-being, schools, work, and business were all closed, there were travel restrictions and so on. 2020 felt like a crazy rollercoaster of new guidelines, COVID tests, and the uncertainty that society would go back to “normal”. But as much as we’d all like to be out of this mess, we’re still in it.

When we all had to start wearing masks towards the end of March and beginning of April of 2020, different people reacted in different ways. Different beliefs within different groups of people and within individuals divided us even more so than we already were; as a society. However, we all had to wear masks for the safety of others. There are so many different varieties of masks such as disposable medical masks, cloth masks, paint and ski masks, N95 respirators that healthcare workers use, and face shields for example. 

Nurses and Firefighters, for example, wear a form of facial covering to protect themselves from sickness, disease and smoke and smog within their daily lives. Just as criminals might wear masks to protect themselves and their identities from the law.

According to a scholarly source based on the Masks and Semiotics of Identity,

“The ways in which masks take up the conventional means is throughout how identity is displayed or hidden.”

Pollock, 1995

However, displaying mask wear-age is up to the wearer; their intentions are their own. In the end, nurses present their mask wear-age as a sign of aid and health. Firefighters present their masks as a sign of aid and public service. Criminals who rob a bank with a mask on, present themselves as hiding their identities and breaking the law.

On May 18, 2020, Don Babwin and Stefanie Dazio from WUSA9 News reported William Rosario Lopez on holding a cashier at gunpoint in a convenient store in Connecticut. I know this may sound very stereotypical, but these types of situations aren’t uncommon. Even before the pandemic. But according to police chief of Frackville in Pennsylvania,

“Criminals, they’re smart and this is a perfect opportunity for them to conceal themselves and fit right in.”

Richard Bell, Chief of Police in Frackville, PA

With the coronavirus mandating masks with businesses requiring masks to enter not only protects those from others in this weird point in time, but also gives masked criminals the perfect opportunity to blend in and do whatever they want without being completely recognized. That’s just the gist of it.


Babwin, D., Dazio, S. (2020). Coronavirus masks a boon for crooks who hide their faces. WUSA9 News.

Pollock, D. (1995). Masks and the Semiotics of Identity. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, 1(3), 581-597. doi:10.2037/3034576

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