I was out the other day and overheard a couple talking loudly (AKA arguing)
He: The Governor says we don’t have to wear masks.
She: The owner of the restaurant doesn’t care about what the governor says. He won’t let us in his place to have dinner if we aren’t wearing masks.
They then proceeded to argue about who was more ’right’ – the Governor or the Restaurant owner and the man who wouldn’t comply and the woman who seemed fine with complying.
I’ve noticed that a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the proliferation of hyperbole – in the news media, on the Op-Ed page of the newspaper, and among colleagues and friends. Whether we should wear it or not – masks is the latest battlefield.
Yes – seriously.
You are probably tired of arguing/talking about masks. I know I am. But I wanted to write about it this month because more of us are getting vaccinated and getting out in the world to live our lives among others. I’d like to talk to those of us who don’t want to wear masks and see it as an unnecessary submission.
While I’m not a fan of mandates generally speaking. I understand the reason for mask mandates. I wear a mask because I’m responsible to vulnerable members of my family and vulnerable members of society at large – and that might be you. In the last 16 months, not taking responsibility appears to have led to the spikes in coronavirus cases that led to people becoming infected and so many dying of Covid-219 complications. I get that it might be an inconvenience to put a cloth covering over your nose and mouth, but taking personal responsibility is about the greater good, not about what is good for only you – or only me.
I don’t want to be accused of ‘Covid-19 Theater’ or fear mongering. I don’t think we have to argue about wearing masks. Masks are not a danger. They may be inconvenient and for some – uncomfortable – but they are not a threat to anyone.
The folks who work in stores, restaurants, airports and train stations are not allowed or encouraged to debate with customers about mask wearing. Part of their job now is to enforce the rules regarding mask wearing as set by their employer. To argue about it with them just makes their jobs harder. And it can annoy other customers.
Lastly – it doesn’t change anything. Those folks whose job is to interact with the public in public places don’t make the rules and can’t change the rules.
The owner of the restaurant isn’t going to call the Governor so they can have a discussion about masks and talk about whether or not it makes sense to ask people to wear them indoors, in his place of business. The owner has made the decision: mask wearing at his place of business will make people safer because not everyone has been vaccinated.
Some folks will tell you that masks don’t work to prevent the spread of Covid-19. I’m not sure exactly what data they are looking at, but a well fitted (snug, covering mouth and nose) mask that is made of multiple layers can effectively curb the transmission of the virus. Masks are part of a comprehensive strategy that includes social distancing and being outdoors. Airborne transmission is the dominant route of infection. Masks may not provide complete and total protection against droplets but they significantly curb the rate of infection. Like an umbrella in the rain – it doesn’t mean you won’t get wet at all if you use one but you will get less wet than if you don’t use an umbrella in the rain at all.
While amusing at first, I don’t really find much funny about fighting the invisible and dangerous COVID-19. It’s a goofy debate. I admit that I don’t understand why someone might consider a precautionary measure against an invisible and potentially dangerous airborne virus an infringement on their rights.
I have the right NOT to contract a highly contagious disease from you. If you aren’t going to get vaccinated, not wearing a mask makes you appear highly inconsiderate – and maybe a little selfish.
A word about those folks who cite obscure studies or unverified reports that they read on the internet: there is almost no gatekeeper on the internet. Society once had a carefully controlled flow of information that dictated the narratives that shaped our national conversation. No more. We now have platforms that provide us with limitless unvetted questionable-quality information. When it comes to masks, if you don’t trust the WHO, the CDC, or NIAID, talk to your doctor (the professional you pay to provide you with trusted medical advice. Look at how easily people can be duped HERE!
Wearing a mask while inside, in public places keeps everyone safe, because we don’t know who has and who has not been vaccinated. Doing this simple thing for your community is an indication that you care about the health of your community.
Rather than argue about whether to wear a mask when you go out, argue about a popular topic. I’ve found a few for you to take on HERE.
Just grab a mask to wear on your way out.