To Mask or Not to Mask

In what can only be called stupid talking about stupid – there is quite a large bit of babbling happening on the internet about people who won’t mask. I have a theory. And since this is the internet, I’m gonna tell it to you.

I think there is a direct connection between people condemning and screaming about non-mask wearers on social media and people deciding that wearing a mask is somehow optional and/or an infringement on their rights.

In the olden days of my long gone youth – we learned about things from a very serious and trustworthy person named Walter Cronkite. He was a news anchor on the TV. We trusted him. If he got on TV and told us that masks were required to protect us, we would wear masks. Because no one else was telling us there was another option.

Walter Cronkite - Wikipedia

Or more precisely, no one we would listen to was telling us anything else. There were always lunatics on corners screaming about conspiracy theories, but everyone fully understood they were loons and we were not making any decisions based on their ranting.

These days everyone is talking all the time – telling you things. It’s a constant gossip garbage festival. Now I have not met anyone who refuses to wear a mask. But I have seen dozens and dozens of people condemning them on social media. I’ve seen news outlets reporting on what people say on social media. Because that is where we get our news now – they just scrape the bottom of the social media garbage can for the maggots and publish it.

It’s not that I don’t see people without masks or wearing a mask improperly. I do. But here’s my impression of all those people

Ehfuckit: The person who left the mask in the car. Too lazy to go back for it.

ParticipationRibbon: The person who is wearing a mask around their neck.

BeardProtection: The person who is wearing the mask on the chin,

Igottabeathe: The person who is wearing the mask just under the nose.

Imsweatingunderhere: The person who is wearing the mask appropriately.

Most of people have done all of the above at different points. Because we are human. No one is all one thing. Certainly we are not a homogenous group.

It’s not that I don’t believe that there are people who refuse to wear a mask. It’s that I think they got their balls to do that because so many people are screaming about people who refused so they figure they have lots of compadres in their quest to be selfish and are given fuel to do this. We are feeding them by giving prominence to the tiniest group.

Then add in how it easy it is to get in touch with the selfish and ignorant club on the internet and now we have a movement. A movement that I posit would not have existed in 1983. I don’t want to go back to the pre-internet world. I think only if you lived without it, can you appreciate it for all the small and lovely ways it improves life. From banking to spelling to random interesting questions. Back in 1983 we just continued to wonder about something that came up in conversation. We didn’t go to the library and research it. We just never found out.

I don’t want to go back there. But it is true that the internet is not working quite so well on a societal level. sigh.

Covid-19, The Souvenir

The week after July 4th weekend, several of my coworkers went away to the beach on vacation. Apparently they decided that if they pretended hard enough the whole pandemic thing didn’t apply to them, it just wouldn’t.

The company required all of them to be tested when they returned but didn’t stop them from coming back into work while they waited for the results.

On Thursday, one of them announced that one of the people he and his father (both work for us) were on vacation with tested positive. They were still waiting for their results but they were sent home immediately.

Unfortunately that was after I had extensive contact with one of their phones and computer. I’m an idiot too.

Yesterday one of them was told he was positive and one was negative. Happily the one whose workspace I was in, was negative, but…

I went to get tested today. The drive through line was a literal mile long. But they are VERY efficient. I was done in less than an hour. But if I have this virus because these two idiots HAD TO GO TO FLORIDA, I am going to have to exercise a whole lot of anger management.

Is it impossible to sacrifice a vacation for the well being of your community? I just don’t understand.

I was wrong

I was lamenting yesterday about the economy and how badly it was affecting the business I work for.  I wondered why we stopped the world instead of just focusing our efforts on protecting the vulnerable.

But since I wrote that I’ve learned a couple of things.  One was a video by Dr. Campbell on how the virus works and spreads and how cutting off the spread can kill the virus off permanently.  That is what happened with SARS.  I was still a bit skeptical that a virus that has already circumnavigated the world could be killed off permanently, but I just read Rowena’s post.  She’s particularly vulnerable to this virus.  If she catches it, she has a high risk of mortality and certainly will end up in hospital, assuming beds are even available.  She’s a mother with young children.

Her family is going to great lengths to protect her.  They bought a popup camper for her to live in for the duration so the family won’t infect her.  It just suddenly made it all clear to me how hard it is to truly isolate and protect the vulnerable.  The only way to do it is for everyone to participate.

Unless you are a single person living alone like myself, true isolation is impossible. And even now in all this mess, if I were forced to truly self isolate, I would likely still need to leave the apartment to take out the trash or receive a delivery of groceries, which would expose me to surfaces other people in the building have touched. And all of that is complicated and compounded when you live with others, particularly as a parent.

that is why we are all sacrificing. It’s a mess. But we must get through and we must all take it seriously or it will all be for naught. We will lose the vulnerable and have killed the economy, if we don’t do it right.

It’s startling how fast an economy can go into the toilet

People are talking about a recession, but honestly, it feels more like it might be headed straight for a depression.

Two weeks ago the transportation company I work for was thriving.  On Monday they laid off  half the workforce and pulled more than half of their vehicles off the lot and the insurance.

Small businesses will not survive this.  Or only a few will.  Most transportation companies are facing full on collapse in 30 or so days.  They carry a debt load on their fleet, not to mention the insurance and payroll.  Our company is in a better position than most because we don’t carry any debt but it’s just going make us last a bit longer.  Because without any income you cannot run a business.

Today I wondered what I would do differently if I were in charge of running this disaster.  And I think I would have focused entirely on high risk people.  Just make older people and people with pre-existing conditions self isolate.  Set up ways and means to support that isolation with food delivery and medical care and whatever support was needed.   But stopping the entire world when it seems like 97% of the sick are not going to feel any worse than having a cold, seems like we went at it wrong.

Of course, I’m not a public health expert.  I have no real knowledge on the spread of sickness and it’s consequences.   It’s probably a pipe dream to think it could have run it’s course mostly avoiding the at risk and giving the rest of us a cold to complain about.  But, if any countries are doing that, I would be interested to know if their outcomes are better/ worse on mortality and economy.

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