Thursday, September 17, 2020

Masks are the best tool we've got, and how can Trump or anyone argue with that?

I literally almost fell off my seat yesterday when I read it. The director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, Robert Redfield, M.D., testified during a Senate hearing that masks are "the most important, powerful public health tool we have" to combat the pandemic. "I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against Covid than when I take a Covid vaccine." Why? Vaccines are not always 100% effective, he noted: "If I don't get an immune response, the vaccine is not going to protect me. This face mask will." 

Hours later, our president was declaring the director of the CDC wrong. He and Dr. Redfield had spoken, a (surely mask-less) Trump told the press, and "I said, 'What did you mean by that? I think he just made a mistake...I think he misunderstood the question." 

Oh, no. Our country's top public health official could not have been clearer: Masks. Are. Everything. 

We are nine months into the pandemic, 196,000 deaths in this country into the pandemic, 29.7 million cases worldwide into the pandemic. We are close to a million deaths around the world into the pandemic. And it is mind-boggling that anyone could question the fact that masks are our most potent weapon in fighting Covid-19, along with hand-washing and social distancing.  

I see mask debates raging on in my local mom's group, and it is troubling. The other day, someone mentioned a large group of teens hanging out in a parking lot in town who were not wearing masks or social distancing. The comments that followed were mostly of the "Yes, they should be wearing masks" variety. But not all were. 

One mom wondered if maybe we should drop the expectation for kids and teenagers to wear masks because, as she noted, "it doesn't seem to make a difference in terms of social spread, at least in our area." WHAT?! Had she not heard about the studies? Had she not seen the videos that showed just how effective masks are at containing germs? 

And then, there was the mom who said "I really wish the mask policing would stop." WHAAAAT?! When a bunch of us pointed out that caring about preventing the spread of the coronavirus does not make you the police, she deleted her comment and quit the group. Or maybe she got booted out?

Wearing a mask isn't just a health issue or a moral one. For some of us, it's also very personal. Max is at risk for complications from the coronavirus because fever triggers seizures. We've been told his breathing wouldn't be more impacted by the virus because of the cerebral palsy, but so much is unknown. Mask-less or half-masked people—the ones who wear them beneath their noses—put us and therefore him in danger. Period. Mask-less or half-masked people put all of society in danger. Period.

This half-mask thing, aka going "nose commando," is an ongoing problem. If it's someone I have to interact with, like the guy who pierced Sabrina's ears, I'll say something. The other night, Dave and I headed to a terrace restaurant at a local golf course; we'd heard the food was good. As a waiter lead us to our table, I noticed the bartender was wearing a mask below his nose. We sat down, looked at the menu and Dave considered ordering wine. "No!" I said, a little anxiously. "You do not want to order anything from that bartender." Then I decided that I wasn't at all comfortable eating at a place that let their bartender wear a mask that way. Dave agreed, and we left. Later, I left a voicemail for the manager about it.

That half-masked bartender and the many others like him, those teens in the parking lot not wearing masks and the multitude of others like them, the mothers who publicly question the usage of masks' efficacy and the many others like them: They are all going to prolong this pandemic. 

If people were asked whether they'd jump into a pool to save a drowning person, they'd say yes. But if you ask people whether they'd wear a mask to save someone from Covid-19, you might get an earful of protests or denials. And that's the problem—too many people refuse to accept that masks are life savers. 

Then there are those mask-less people who may or may not be named Donald Trump who want to make like everything is going to be OK and la-la-la-la not listening not listening la-la-la-la, which is actually going to keep everything not OK.

Trump claimed Dr. Redfield made a mistake when he said masks are the ultimate protection from the coronavirus. But make no mistake: They are


  1. It’s disappointing when a leader with his influence tries to pander to the non-mask contingent for political reasons. I hope people around you have more sense and wear masks for Max and everyone’s sake.

  2. I make it a point to give heartfelt thanks to those wearing masks and taking other precautions, when it seems appropriate. I tell them they are saving my life, as I have a very compromised immune system. Most often they appreciate this; it seems to justify their efforts.



Thanks for sharing!

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