Friday, July 23, 2021

Coronavirus Update 7–23–2021: We talkin’ bout masks! We ain’t talkin’ bout the vaccine, we talkin’ bout masks.

I'm not proud of this but i just made a scene in public for the first time in my life… I walked into a Starbucks and they asked me to put a mask on! I yelled this is ridiculous, so I turned around and walked out. I know what you're thinking… My first mistake was walking into a Starbucks:)

Actor Kevin Sorbo, on LinkedIn, 7/20/21

I came across the post written by the former Hercules actor a couple of nights ago while perusing my LinkedIn feed. Three things came to mind.

1/ I cannot believe more than 16 months into the pandemic we are still debating masks.

They work, period. Yes, if you have an anti-mask agenda you can find myriad studies, websites, and statements to shove in my face. I don't care. That's the problem with the internet; you can always find something to support your position, which allows misinformation to spread. There are more (like this one) that tell me that they work, and I refuse to believe otherwise. You can be against government fiats that mandate masks (for the record, I am not), but you shouldn't be against the science that tells us that they work when used consistently and worn properly. I just don't understand the anger some people have about wearing a piece of fabric over their nose and mouth. It continues to not make any sense to me. 

2/ Is it time to rethink our national masking strategy?

The CDC completely bollocksed up our national mask strategy. What they said was, "If you're fully vaccinated, there is no longer a need to wear a mask anywhere." What a cooped up and tired nation heard, however, was, "No more masks; hot Covid summer!" The CDC's calculated strategy to incentivize vaccines by trading masks for shots backfired. With approximately half of our country being vaccine-hesitant or completely anti-vax, and vaccine passports unavailable, there is simply no way to know who is or is not vaccinated. Thus, we are left with zero ability to police the maskless.

For these reasons, as CNN is reporting, top Biden-administration health officials and some White House officials are holding preliminary conversations on revising guidance to require public masking for all regardless of vaccination status. Meanwhile, some cities are already strongly making this recommendation. I support this conversation, but also recognize that renewed mask mandates are likely to spark vocal opposition and protests. Still, with so many of us both unvaccinated and unwilling to mask up voluntarily, I see no other choice.

3/ Their business; their rules. 

The Starbucks that enraged Kevin Sorbo is not the jerk for having a rule and enforcing it; he's the jerk for causing a scene about it. But, just as that business has the right to enforce a mandatory-mask rule, Mr. Sorbo has the right to take his business elsewhere.

Where does this leave us? Businesses should consider re-implementing their own mask mandates, at least until we get Delta under control. No vaccine + no mask = Covid's 4th wave. We can't have it both ways. If you're not going to get vaccinated, you have to wear a mask when around others. And if a business cannot verify who is and is not fully vaccinated, then masks are the only solution to keep everyone safe.

As for me, I'll continue wearing my mask inside public spaces and continue to avoid mass gatherings, which includes while on the vacation my family is taking next week, our first in nearly two and half years. I'll see everyone back here on August 1.