The Mystery of Masks

As the number of deaths in the U.S. from the Coronavirus passes 140,000 (a number that just a few months ago would have been unthinkable), experts — actual doctors and scientists knowledgeable in the subject, not politicians — nearly unanimously agree that wearing a mask in public would significantly decrease the transmission of the disease and give us a chance to get it under control.  A seemingly innocuous precaution that is not a particular burden.  And yet.  Somehow it has become a major political issue often resulting in rude and belligerent behavior and sometimes, violence.

“No shirt, no shoes, no service” is an iconic sign posted in restaurants and shops around the country, especially in tourist or beach areas.  No one seems to have a problem with that requirement.  A sign that says “Please wear a mask in the store” somehow elicits the vulgar expression “F*** You!” and worse.  Somehow a mask has become an alleged Constitutional issue although I am hard pressed to find a single Constitutional scholar that can delineate how a mask worn to protect us all from a virulent disease is impinging on anyone’s rights.

Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the Bahamas and many other countries around the world will not allow tourists from the U.S. into their countries or requires them to quarantine because of our extremely poor record in combating the pandemic.  We are now the “dirty, disease spreading” refugees shunned by the rest of the world.

I look at it this way.  Not wearing a mask is like drunk driving.  Perhaps if you do it you will make it home safely, but you have endangered yourself, your family, friends, and everyone that you encounter on the way.  Chances are you will kill some innocent person just doing their best, going home from picking up the kids or a quick run to the grocery for some milk.  It is in the public good that we crack down hard on drunk drivers.  It is in the public good that we all wear masks.

Unfortunately, we have a growing number of selfish folks that can give any number of reasons why they do not mask up, none of which hold any credible explanation other than the fact that they are so self-centered that they are entitled to do whatever they want, the rest of us be damned.

With such a blatant disregard of the community and social welfare in mind, we will never get this pandemic under control.  Ironically, we know exactly how to get the situation under control and begin to safely open up schools and businesses, but no one seems to want to do it, least of all our political leaders.

In a Fox News interview with Chris Wallace, the president expounded about all sorts of issues for an hour.  No description I can give here would do justice to the amount of lies, misstatements and delusional thinking that went on during the interview.  To his credit, Mr. Wallace held Mr. Trump accountable during his ramblings and fact-checked him on several issues in real time.

Specifically with respect to the ongoing pandemic Mr. Trump said, among other things, that we only have so many cases because we do more testing than anybody (tests are up 37 percent and the number of cases are up 194 percent according to Fox News); but that is okay because, according to Mr. Trump, “many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day. They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test.  Many of them — don’t forget, I guess it’s like 99.7 percent, people are going to get better and in many cases they’re going to get better very quickly”; responding to a question about his multiple statements that the coronavirus will just disappear Mr. Trump said “I’ll be right eventually”; and so on.  Really, I recommend that you read the transcript for yourself and think about the fact that this man controls the nuclear codes.  But I digress.

When asked specifically about wearing masks and whether there should be a national mandate to wear them, as has been done in the countries around the world that have a far better handle on this pandemic than we do, he said,

“No, I want people to have a certain freedom and I don’t believe in that [wearing masks].  No, and I don’t agree with the statement that if everybody wears a mask everything disappears.”

And there we have it.  There is no national strategy to combat the pandemic and the person that should be setting the example and showing leadership in a crisis refuses to step up.  Some state governors take their cue from Mr. Trump and so there are cases like in Georgia where the governor is suing the mayor of Atlanta because she put out a mandatory mask order to help alleviate the crisis in her city.  And on and on and on and yet we wonder why we are having a problem.

We are apparently a nation of idiots (Covidiots) that think some how taking measures to stop the spread of a killer disease is violating their right to do whatever they want.  They should take a high school civics class and study what the word “freedom” really means in the United States of America.  It most definitely is not the right to do whatever one likes.

Here is my bottom line that should stop everyone in their tracks.  We are 4.3% of the world’s population and we have 24% of the deaths from the pandemic.  To quote the great philosopher Forrest Gump, “stupid is as stupid does.”



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