Heated Confrontations Over Face Masks on the Rise Amid Ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic, Reopenings

The issue of wearing masks in public has caused some problems as some states and cities have begun the process of loosening Stat-at-Home restrictions put in place because of coronavirus. As ABC News reported on Thursday, this includes an uptick of violent, and sometimes deadly, altercations.

When coronavirus was declared a national emergency on March 13, the official position of the Surgeon General was to not wear masks in public, which was done in part to avoid a possible shortage for actual healthcare workers. It was also stressed that wearing a mask wouldn't protect healthy people from getting sick, but would help those who were possibly infected from spreading. That started to change after one study in Iceland found that 50 percent of all its subjects who tested positive for COVID-19 were asymptomatic.

Although, as masks started to become the norm for many, that has also led to problems, which could be partly due to frustration over the considerable inconsistencies. Aside from suggested guidelines from the CDC, there's been no real concrete federal policy, which leaves each state to make its own decisions, which are often delegated to local governments or the individual businesses directly, to set their own policy. All of which can often be at odds with each other.

While there have been some uncomfortable exchanges, like the guy who wiped his nose on an employee's sleeve after being asked to wear a mask, these situations have started to turn aggressive. On Wednesday, two McDonald's employees in Oklahoma City were shot by a customer who apparently became angry when she was told she couldn't eat inside the lobby. Local police had initially reported that they were two suspects, but later determined that there was only one woman involved, who was since taken into custody. Both employees suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Family Dollar security guard Calvin Munerlyn was shot on May 1 in Flint, Michigan after an altercation with a customer over their face mask policy. Even though the suspect was wearing a mask, his daughter wasn't, which escalated to the point of murder. "All you people just have to do is listen to the law, listen to the governor. Just stay home," Munderlyn's mother, Bernadette, told mourners at a vigil on Sunday night. "If you don't have to come out, then you wouldn't need a mask unless you’re out getting groceries or necessities."