A Maskless Life

The news yesterday

When I read that the CDC had advised that vaccinated Americans need not wear masks in most circumstances, I trusted it. I decided it was time to go maskless . After all, this is the CDC, the same authority that I trusted when they told me to mask.

But at the same time

Photo by Tim Douglas on Pexels.com

After a year of masks, sanitizing surfaces, and staying away from public places, I don’t know what to think. I’ve made a habit of masking up when going out of the house, and when I forget, finding the stockpile of paper masks from the back of the car. I had been told only a month or so before that unmasked, vaccinated people could still transmit the virus. It’s not that I don’t trust the CDC — I trust science even though it doesn’t always seem consistent as it evolves. It’s just that — it’s like building up your defenses against a marauding army only to find that it has vanished in thin air.

And, against the backdrop of the new swarm of cases in India and the shelter-in-place in Canada, it seems unreal that we are demasking in the US.

Those who won’t unmask

Several people I know, serious maskers, won’t take off their masks despite the CDC advisory, even though the risk of contracting COVID is 5% or less, and the risk of dying even less (similar to those vaccinated for flu, I believe). They cite not trusting unmasked persons even though they’re immune because of the vaccine. Ironically, they’re rejecting information from the same government organization they touted previously.

The truth is, fear is stronger than rationality. The Right’s fear of losing liberty and the Left’s fear of taking off their mask are cousins. I hate to say this, because I’m a Social Democrat and tend to align with the left end of the political spectrum, but I see similarity. I also see identity expressed by the choice to wear a mask or not pre-lifting of restrictions. I see differences, too — the anti-maskers tend to operate in an individualistic form and the mask proponents in a more collectivistic vein, as they express concern for unmasked people as part of their rationale. But I see the similarities.

My choice

I will walk into the café today without a mask. I might get stares from my friends who are still masked, but I have to put my faith in the guidance from the CDC, as it’s more grounded in science than anything I could come up with. I will keep a mask in my belt pouch for crowded spaces or for doctors’ offices. I will mask again if the threat level rises, such as a new variant.

But I will choose science over fear.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s