The context of rejecting masks

Unfortunately, tens of millions of Americans have lost trust in our institutions, and that lack of trust has had consequences in the COVID-19 pandemic and the public’s response to it. To a large extent, that explains much of the resistance to orders by civil authorities. Which leads me to this tweet by David French:

I’m struck by the extent to which various right-wing “patriots” both reject shelter-in-place and reject masks. So, what are they doing for the country they say they love? The Founders would be stunned at their callous disregard for a pandemic.

We were told not to wear masks months ago, when public health officials knew they were effective at preventing the spread of the disease, at least for people carrying it. The government could have temporarily banned the private sale of masks under an emergency order to preserve them for front line medical workers. They did not do that. They chose to lie instead, and those lies have destroyed trust for millions.

Then the news media that extols the value of masks breathlessly defends the World Health Organization despite the fact that WHO has lost all credibility by covering for the brutal, genocidal Communist regime of China and spreading Communist lies about human-to-human transmission of COVID-19. Then the news media gaslights us by saying that criticizing the regime that brutally oppresses the Chinese people is “racist” – because nothing says “racist” like opposing the oppression of the Chinese people.

It also does not help to have civil authorities demanding that people wear masks outside in sunny weather, when available data indicates that the virus does not spread very effectively in those conditions. The virus spreads most rapidly in small, enclosed, crowded areas. This is why the New York City subway system was such a perfect vector for spreading the virus.

So with all of that established, it does not surprise me to see folks posting on social media that masks are bad and spread the virus more, in addition to causing other health problems – and then refusing to wear them. While I do not agree with the rejection of masks, I understand why that is happening.

With that said, some of the anti-mask rhetoric needs to cool down. No, wearing a mask is not “a symbol of slavery.” It is almost certain that the novel coronavirus is much more widespread than confirmed cases would indicate, because a large majority of cases for people under 40 are asymptomatic. But even people who never get sick can still spread the virus to a vulnerable person. Accepting a temporary lack of comfort to protect your neighbor is not an imposition on your liberty or your bodily integrity.

The reason I just roll my eyes at much of what I see on social media is that it tends to be an all-or-nothing mentality. What we all need to do is chill out and think clearly for ourselves – not with emotion but with available data. No one wants anyone to die, and no one wants to have the New World Order take over the country. People are doing their best to balance competing priorities. Relax.