To mask or not to mask?

It seems to me that the use — or non-use — of face masks doesn’t have to create as much hand-wringing — and fighting — as it does.

First and foremost, follow the fucking rules. If a face mask is mandatory, say, on a bus or an airplane or in any other fairly crowded place with ventilation that isn’t optimal, wear a fucking face mask.* This isn’t hard.

Obviously you can’t eat and drink at a restaurant if you’re wearing a mask, so there is that, but if you are following the establishment’s rules, you’re all good. (If you are unvaccinated for whatever reason or reasons and don’t feel safe in a restaurant, where others aren’t wearing masks because they’re eating and drinking, then avoid restaurants…)

I avoided crowds even pre-COVID-19 — not for disease prevention but because people are assholes enough individually, but even more so when they’re a part of a fucking mob — so that’s not an issue for me. But if you must find yourself in a crowd (where you could be subjected to the mob mentality at any time…), you should wear a mask, in my book, even if you’ve been vaccinated.

Why? Because no one else has any way of knowing whether you have been vaccinated or not. Unfortunately, we probably never will have a way of knowing others’ COVID-19 vaccination status, such as like this:

sneetches (1)

Yes, I’d love to be like the asshole on the left, holding out my COVID-19 vaccination card and declaring to the unvaccinated, “Moderna, bitch!”

But I recognize that that wouldn’t fly.

So, because I have been fully vaccinated (Moderna, bitch!), I am not worried about getting ill with COVID-19. I recently ate at a particular restaurant for the first time in a year, and I felt perfectly safe eating there, even though there were plenty of strangers around me, close enough to give me a communicable disease if they had one.

But, in public, except at a restaurant while eating and drinking, I still wear a mask, even outdoors, even though the CDC now says that I don’t have to do so because I’ve been fully vaccinated.

My own personal rule, for more than year now, has been that if I’m out and about in public and I could end up finding myself within a few feet of anyone else, I wear a face mask — not so much for my own protection (especially now that I’ve been vaccinated [Moderna, bitch!]), but also for others’ comfort. (And at this point, probably more for others’ comfort than for my own protection.) Absent a gubmint-issued green star on my belly, others have no way of knowing my vaccination status. (Also, of course, I really don’t need some ignoramus yelling at me that I need to be wearing a face mask, even though the CDC says that no, I don’t…)

I know that I’m supposed to be like the typically incredibly selfish American, caring only about my own comfort and my own desires, and ignoring everyone else’s comfort and well-being in the name of a blue-and-white-face-painted Mel Gibson screaming, “Freeedom!” Call me a Commie

All along, the face masks have been meant to be a public-health measure to stem the spread of a communicable disease (duh). (They also, in my book, have been pretty effective IQ tests…) Face masks never should have become (via their use or non-use) political insignia, for fuck’s sake, although it’s entirely appropriate that the Repugnicans, being fucking traitors, should eschew face masks; even though they call themselves “Christians,” they don’t fucking care if they carelessly, selfishly cause others’ illness or even death (again: traitors!).

The novel coronavirus pandemic has, graphically, shown us Americans an awful lot about ourselves, but, being Americans, the lesson is going to escape at least the one-third or so of us who still align themselves with Pussygrabberism.

The lesson of COVID-19 has been that we Americans are woefully unprepared to act collectively, cooperatively and effectively against a common serious threat to all of us. Instead of mounting an effective defense and counteroffensive, working together, we quickly turn to attacking each other (along political lines, in the case of COVID-19).

When/if the next pandemic — only a more lethal one** — comes along, we’re probably toast. We were given the warning, but we’ll ignore it; we are, after all, Amuricans

In the meantime — until the next, perhaps more lethal, pandemic comes along — at some point the CDC will announce that we don’t have to wear face masks anywhere, except in certain rare situations (such as, say, at a medical facility where there are immunocompromised individuals).

Until that time comes — and it probably will come sooner rather than later — I suggest that even if you are vaccinated, consider those who haven’t been, or even who have been but still are concerned (probably irrationally, according to the actual science) about contracting COVID-19 — or even who are just concerned that you might be infecting others, since they can’t know your vaccination status just by looking at you.

Until all of us get the all-clear, would it kill you to wear a face mask when you are in public (including at work) out of some consideration for others? (Pussygrabberians: Would Jesus wear a face mask out of some consideration for others?)

P.S. Don’t get me wrong. If you are fully vaccinated and there is a situation (a small backyard barbecue, a small house gathering or the like) in which you know that everyone who is participating has been fully vaccinated, then go ahead and go without a face mask.

Not only does the CDC say that it’s perfectly safe to do this, but fuck, being fully vaccinated should get you something. I fully intend to see my brother and sister-in-law, whom I haven’t seen in person for more than a year now, again in person soon, because by that time all of us will have been fully vaccinated***. (Moderna, bitch!)

*Probably absolutely no one else in the venue where you are making a total fucking ass out of yourself by “taking a stand” against a face-mask requirement gives a flying fuck what you believe about face masks and “freedom!” They care only that you now are fucking with their day with your incredibly selfish cray-cray.

**Thus far, per the CDC, the number of COVID-19-related deaths in the United States is approaching 600,000. The 2020 census put the U.S. population at about 331,500,000, so about one in every 550 Americans, I calculate, thus far has died of COVID-19 (331,500,000 divided by 600,000 is 552.5).

As lethal pandemics go, killing one in about 550 people isn’t super-lethal. Past worldwide pandemics have killed a much higher percentage of the population.

If you are someone who has died of COVID-19 or are a loved one of someone who has died of COVID-19, that’s not of much comfort to you, of course; but it’s also the reason, I think, that so many have eschewed face masks and other public-health measures: the body count from COVID-19 just hasn’t been high enough, in their estimation, for them to undergo any inconvenience of any kind. They never intended to wear face masks — maybe — until there were COVID-19 corpses filling the streets…

***By “fully vaccinated” I mean that it has been at least two weeks since your final vaccination, whether you received a two-dose or a one-dose vaccination.

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