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To Mask or Not to Mask?

At no time since the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic has there been more confusion over who should wear a mask, when and how. 

The advice on masking has not been consistent over time.  In the early days of the Pandemic, scientists, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that masks were only needed if you were showing flu-like symptoms. In one interview back then, Fauci got indignant when asked if he would be wearing a mask. “Why should I?  I don’t have any symptoms,” he sharply responded.

Then there was the debate over what kind of mask to wear.  Some doctors said any kind of mask would do.  Others said it had to be an N-95 mask.  Those “painters masks” were seen everywhere, although doctors said they were ineffective in staving off the virus – as where the western bandit masks.  But they were still only for those with symptoms.

Then that changed.  After telling folks that masks were not effective in preventing a person from catching the virus — only from spreading it — the medical authorities decided we all needed to have masks at all times – indoors, outdoors, even when social distancing.  We did not have to wear them at home until they discovered that confinement in the home was not entirely safe without masking — unless you remain isolated from your entire extended family, friends and neighbors.

Even before the vaccines, the ever-reliable scientists decided that we did not have to mask when outdoors unless we were in a crowded situation – which was virtually impossible since all the gathering places were on lockdown.

Then along came the vaccines – and for the first time we saw the light at the end of the tunnel.  Get a vaccine and it is virtually impossible to contract or spread the virus – as the scientific community told us.  The unmasking of America began.

At least until the arrival of the vaccines, the medical advice was consistent at any one time – although the advice changed over periods of time.  Today, there is no consistency at all.  Medical experts and reporters (who think they are experts on everything) are putting out information, conflicting information and misinformation on a daily basis.

Since my vaccination, I have viewed the Pandemic in the rearview mirror.  I do not wear masks anywhere – because the doctors said I was safe.  Of course, their statements that it was almost impossible for me to contract Covid-19 – even the Delta Variant – started to shift as growing numbers of vaccinated people starting testing positive.  But the symptoms are very mild or none at all.  No meaningful level of hospitalizations and no death.  I am okay with that level of risk.  I still do not need a mask.

But now there is a war on the unvaccinated.  I think they are silly to avoid the shots, but I am not worried for myself.  If they are willing to get sick, that is on them.  The media said that we are in a Pandemic of the unvaccinated.  Okay, what does that have to do with me.  I am not in the Pandemic anymore.

If people want to go unvaccinated, they are posing a threat to each other – only to the people who are also willing to take the risk.  I am all for encouraging them to take the vaccine or wear the mask, but I am not going to alter my lifestyle to accommodate them because they are not a threat to me.

But now the proponents of masking are on the rise.  It has gotten so ridiculous that in one report the doctor said that we should have universal masking – indoors and out – and those who are vaccinated need only wear one mask.  Those unvaccinated should wear two.  No … I do not need to wear even one.

Others say that we vaccinated folks need to wear masks because we can still contract the virus – and then spread it.  Oh wait!  Several of the medical authorities have explained why vaccinated people cannot spread Covid-19.  It has something to do with how the vaccine impacts on the virus.  It damages its potency. 

Others want to make me wear a mask because they do not know if I am vaccinated or not.  Those “others” are vaccinated people – so why should they care if I am vaccinated or not. 

Other medical authorities have said that universal masking will force the unvaccinated to mask.  Forcing we vaccinated folks to wear masks in public should only discourage the unvaccinated from getting the shot.  I got my shot because I could live a normal life without fear AND without a mask.  The latter was the primary reason because I was not overly fearful of the virus in the first place. So, try to get more of the reluctant people to get the vaccine by telling them that they will still have to mask-up, social distance and isolate.  Good luck with that.

Well, the medical community may be awash with conflicting advice — which means the medical advice you get from the media will depend on your source for news.  But from my grassroots vantagepoint, the people are doing what they please without much consideration to the chaos being generated by the national conversation between doctors. 

The people in my neck of the woods have pretty much put the Pandemic behind them.  There are very few masks to be seen in public places – indoors or outdoors.  Our local American bar is jammed with unmasked patrons – especially on Karaoke and Trivia nights.  Clerks in retail establishments often wear masks as a job requirement, but damn few customers do.

The masking controversy is likely to continue because there are so many places were proprietors and agency heads can demand mask wearing.  We still have the entire back-to-school debate ahead.  The Pandemic and the mask issue loom large in the national political debate and among the national media personalities, but among the people, all seems normal.  We are not getting whipsawed by the confusion and chaos.  If the scientist we have been admonished to listen to are giving us conflicting information and advice, how can we listen to any of them.

For most of the Pandemic, I listened a lot to the scientist and researched a lot of data.  That is because I could find solid facts to pass on to my readers.  Now days, I have stopped giving advice because I have no reliable sources.  Instead of listening to the doctors regarding masking, I am ignoring them.  The one basic truth that I trust is that if you are vaccinated, your risk of contracting or spreading Covid is EXTREMELY low.  Hence, I feel confident walking around sans mask.  You can use your own judgement – and as for you unvaccinated folks, go get the vaccine for your own sake.  It does not matter to me.

So, there ‘tis.

Written by Larry Horist

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