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Mask Rage

Most people who know me are aware of my irrational hatred of the face masks the medical professionals have asked us to wear during this pandemic. I suspect several factors are at play, chief among them creepiness, accompanied by some sort of visceral revulsion that seems trauma-related. I only say that because it's a similar reaction that I have to other (minor) traumas; it's not an official diagnosis. Despite these hangups, I wear a face covering because negligent homicide isn't a life goal. As much of a misanthrope as I can be, peoples' lives do matter to me. Once I am vaccinated, I have gradual plans to see friends and family who I can trust will also get the vaccination, and there will be no masks. In fact, save some of your masks for after we've achieved mass vaccinations, so you can throw them into the bonfire I'm planning on having.

Today, I read two articles: one arguing that at about fourteen days after the second shot, individuals can begin relaxing measures such as distancing and masking. The other article argues the opposite:

  1. https://www.medpagetoday.com/blogs/vinay-prasad/90764
  2. https://www.medpagetoday.com/infectiousdisease/covid19/90763
Clearly, confirmation bias puts me in agreement with the conclusions of the first article. The second article makes some valid points, however. One struck me as a legitimate issue. Folks will start lying about their vaccination status simply to keep from masking, which will keep the disease circulating longer (and result in a whole new round of Karen/Chad meltdowns inside stores).

One of my fears is general distrust and losing cultural norms such as handshakes and hugs. Understandably, people will be uncertain about who is comfortable with physical contact, and there will be a lot of awkwardness initially. I hope that will be short-lived. (Though we should of course respect people's personal boundaries and not force anything.) As my father said, handshakes survived the great pandemic of 1918, and I am optimistic they will survive this one. I'd also hate to see a cultural shift resulting in masking during cold/flu season. If we have the means, we should stay home when we're sick to avoid infecting others in public. I've been doing this for years out of respect to colleagues and family. I much prefer that than the idea of going out and about sick and wearing a mask. We should also remember neither the common cold nor flu is as contagious as SARS-CoV-2.

Please be careful and follow public guidelines at least until you're vaccinated, and be sure to get your vaccination. If you're like me and either hate wearing a mask or hate seeing others wearing them en masse, the only way to a better world is through vaccinations. I hope to see your entire faces soon.

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