I’m seeing a lot of posts on social media showing confusion about the wearing of masks in public.
Here’s the short version: Wear a mask in public if you can, not because it protects you, but because you’re not a a-hole.
Public health experts believe wearing a mask will help limit the spread of the virus by reducing transmission from presymptomatic and asymptomatic individuals with SARS-CoV-2.
What the left gets wrong
Unfortunately, there are too many on the left who not only are willing to do the right thing (good), but need to act with moral superiority to others. They post memes like:
implying that folks who don’t wear masks or follow other mandates are risking their own life. People under 60 or so with no health conditions don’t get severe COVID-cases.
By promoting a false narrative, well meaning individuals are actually sowing confusion, not compliance.
What the right gets wrong
The are too many people on the right saying mask wearing doesn’t work.
They point out that initially health authorities did not recommend masks, and studies show mask wearing doesn’t protect the wearer against contracting COVID-19.
The second point is easiest: No informed individual thinks it does. Since the recommendation to wear them came out, CDC has been consistent in its message. A cloth face covering may not protect the wearer, but it may keep the wearer from spreading the virus to others.
As to the changing recommendation, isn’t it reasonable to change your mind as you get new information? Yesterday’s weather forecast said little chance of rain today. This morning I see dark clouds, I will go back inside and grab my umbrella.
When the pandemic started, scientists didn’t know much about it, and much of the information came from a totalitarian government. Recommendations were based on what was known about similar viruses. As knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 increases, guidance changes.
Citizens guide to COVID masks
If in public spaces near other people, wear a mask if you can. Keep it clean so it doesn’t make you sick. If you see someone without a mask, be a decent human being and assume they have a health condition that contraindicates mask wearing. If you are concerned because you are high risk, just don’t go there.