As you’ve likely heard, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have just issued new guidance on who must wear masks and when. Turns out government scientists finally took a second to check the science and realized — oh, wait — everything we’ve been telling you for months is completely wrong. Actually, people who’ve been vaccinated don’t need to wear masks most of the time because they’re vaccinated. They’re safe. Right? For the 151 million Americans who’ve received the covid vaccine, this is good news. They can breathe freely for the first time in a year. They don’t need to be ashamed any longer to show their faces in public. They can be human again. They can be American. People like that are celebrating tonight.
But for others — people whose main interest is not public health, but whose main interest is power — this new guidance is, as we often say in the news business, “a troubling development.” For people like that, letting the vaccinated live without masks raises all sorts of distressing questions, beginning with: If people are permitted to dress any way they want to dress, how are we going to control them? And more to the point: If nobody has to wear a mask, how will we know who the Republicans are? How can we be certain who to scoff at, and feel morally superior to? These are not small questions. News organizations are struggling with them as we speak. For months, TV networks have attacked people who dare to go outside without their masks. You’ve seen the tape of the super-spreaders: some lady trying to buy oranges in a grocery store in Florida without her mask. You don’t know her name, but you know one thing about her: you know who she voted for. She’s one of the crazies. Has to be. No mask.
Except now, in the wake of this new guidance, you really can’t know. And that’s the problem. When everyone was told to wear masks, you could instantly identify faithful party faithful on sight. They were the ones obeying the rules. Now that the rules have changed, what do we do? Well, we could act like it never happened. We could pretend the CDC guidance hasn’t changed at all.
That’s many people’s plan. That’s David Hogg’s plan. David Hogg is only 21 years old, but he’s got the crabbiness and neuroses of a much older woman. David Hogg has been fully vaccinated, of course, but he announced this morning that he’s going to continue to wear a mask when he’s outside.
Masking up is inconvenient, Hogg conceded, but it’s “more than worth it to have people not think I’m a conservative.” Good point, David Hogg! When you wear a surgical mask even after the doctors have told you not to, everyone knows your politics, not to mention your position in society. You’re in the ruling class. That’s why you can afford to ignore the science, and instead adopt a health precaution as a fashion accessory. It’s like ancient Chinese foot binding that way: a mark of social distinction. When you’re that powerful, you don’t need to walk — or in this case, breathe.
I feel the need to continue wearing my mask outside even though I’m fully vaccinated because the inconvenience of having to wear a mask is more than worth it to have people not think I’m a conservative 😬
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) May 14, 2021
If you hate the idea of an egalitarian society — and people like David Hogg definitely do hate that idea — these new rules are a disaster. Because they allow everyone can be maskless together, and that’s bad. No one can say that out loud of course. This is a pandemic, so you have to keep your game face on and talk about public health. So instead, you’re hearing people fret that allowing the vaccinated to go bare-faced could be very dangerous.
That’s Leana Wen’s position. Wen is the in-house doctor over on CNN. Before this job, she was the president of Planned Parenthood, an organization that causes more deaths in this country every year than all forms of cancer combined. So say what you will about Leana Wen — she knows a lot about what kills people. She is highly distressed about this new guidance:
DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: And I do really worry. Now, we’re going to be potentially going into grocery stores or other settings where they [kids] could be exposed…So if you’re taking your kids to the grocery store or somewhere else, try to go at a time when there aren’t a lot of people around. And if there are a lot of maskless people walking around, and you suspect that some of them could actually be unvaccinated, maybe leave and come back later.
There’s the problem right there: people lie, it’s human nature. Not everyone without a mask has actually been vaccinated. You just can’t tell. Unvaccinated people are like Russian spies. They circulate stealthily among the rest of us, pretending to be something that they’re not, committing medical treason, undermining this nation from within. It’s terrifying when you think about it. But wait a second, you ask. Why would someone who’s been vaccinated worry about encountering an unvaccinated person, masked or not? Isn’t the vaccinated person entirely safe from COVID infection? Isn’t that the whole point of getting the vaccine in the first place? Honestly, that’s a fair question. Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to answer that question. We’re not physicians or practicing MSNBC anchors. We just don’t have that data. But for reference, this perfectly well-adjusted couple on a cable news morning show has been fully vaccinated, but they plan to keep wearing masks anyway. Why? Because it “just makes good common sense:”
JOE SCARBOROUGH: If you’re on airplanes, if you’re on buses, if you’re on public transportation – wear the mask. You still are expected to wear the mask and for your own health, you should still wear the mask. I gotta say, I haven’t gotten the flu in a year. Why am I going to stop wearing a mask on planes?
MIKA BRZEZINSKI: That’s right
SCARBOROUGH: That just makes good common sense.
BRZEZINSKI: It’s a good idea.
It’s just common sense. It’s just common sense. Because masks protect you, not simply from COVID-19, but from everything, including the flu. They’re like magic that way. We should wear them forever. So you’re headed over to Amazon to throw 10,000 surgical masks in the old shopping cart, but before you do, ask yourself: do we know that’s true? We should check. Trust but verify. Someone must have those numbers, right? On masks? Someone must have checked. In fact, someone has checked. Last year, the peer-reviewed journal of the British Medical Association looked at the effectiveness of cloth masks, the kind that MSNBC anchors wear on airplanes. They’re the ones you see at Whole Foods. Surprisingly, there wasn’t a lot of data on their effectiveness. The authors could find only a single randomized clinical study of the subject, but the results of that study are worth knowing about. It turned out that people who wear cloth masks are at quote, “higher risk” of viral infection than people who don’t wear cloth masks. The masks turned out to be completely ineffective. In testing, cloth masks allowed the penetration of 97 percent of vapor droplets. But actually, they were worse than — they weren’t just useless, they turned out to be dangerous. They were literally vectors for disease.
“Cloth may become damp and contaminated, posing an infection and self-contamination risk.” So it turns out, people who wore the kind of masks MSNBC anchors plan to wear on airplanes were more likely to get the flu, to get infected, than people who weren’t wearing the mask. That’s amazing.
Why haven’t we heard about that study before? You know. Because it was a study, with math and stuff. Old school science, where you test your hypothesis, and then don’t lie about the results of the tests. In other words, it’s racism. And we can’t have that. If we’re going to beat this pandemic, we’re going to need fewer studies and more punitive measures. One public health expert explained on MSNBC today.
SORKIN: For all of the companies in America who say they want a better society and they say it all the time. The one thing they could actually do but have been unwilling to do thus far is to actually mandate vaccination…It baffles me to this day given the trillions of dollars that was pumped out directly to businesses to help them during the pandemic, that the one thing they’ve been willing to do thus far is to help themselves and help society by mandating the vaccine.
It’s pretty simple. Don’t make the case, don’t convince people, it’s not like they’re citizens, they’re just peasants. Force them! Why aren’t big companies mandating vaccines and punishing people who won’t get the shot? It’s a fair question. And, while we’re on the topic, why aren’t the NIH and the CDC doing the same thing? A report tonight suggests that up to half of NIH and CDC employees have refused to get the vaccine so far. Who knew there were so many QAnon science deniers in science? As the MSNBC guy put it, it’s baffling.
Jeb Bush’s former flack isn’t baffled. She knows what the problem is: you’ve got too many rights:
WALLACE: I mean why is it controversial – I understand a right to privacy and a right to freedom but I don’t have a right to go to my workplace unvaccinated. I don’t have a right to send my kid to school without testing him to make sure he doesn’t become a vector for disease. Has this debate gone too far? Sure you can do what you want but it doesn’t mean you get to go on with your pre-pandemic life if you’re not willing to carry your burden in society.
Why is it controversial? Exactly. You do it because you’re a good person. You need to get vaccinated because if you don’t, you might infect people who have been vaccinated, and how unfair would that be?
It’s not like abortion or something. You just don’t have the right to do that. Some are claiming this new standard is confusing, but it’s not, that’s a conspiracy theory. Nothing could be clearer than the science on covid: Get vaccinated. Joe Biden said it this week: Hurry up and get the shots. And while you’re at it, vaccinate your entire family, including any child over the age of five months. Your kids may be more likely to be killed by cheetahs than by COVID, but it’s still incredibly dangerous not to vaccinate them as often as you can right away. And, by the way, they can’t get an education or have friends or go to summer camp if they don’t get the shot. So do it. And then — and this is the key, so listen carefully — once you’ve all been thoroughly vaccinated, you must live as though you haven’t been vaccinated, because, although the vaccine is 100 percent effective and therefore essential, actually it doesn’t work at all. It’s pretty much just saline solution, but with potentially fatal side effects. So take the vaccine, but don’t trust the vaccine. Damn the CDC guidance.
The next time you’re outside with your spouse, for example, just to prove you’re on the same page — the person you’re legally married to, sleep with, and who, like you, has been fully vaccinated — the next time you’re outdoors with that person, be certain to wear at least one mask before you kiss her sexlessly, in the driest, falsest way possible, especially if there are network camera pools present. Otherwise, if you fail to take these obvious, commonsense health precautions, millions will die and you’ll be helping the cause of white supremacy.
Vice President Kamala Harris herself demonstrated this guidance recently. It applies to all of us. “You may kiss the bride?” Sure, but with a mask on. There’s nothing confusing about this.
But that doesn’t mean these rules are set in stone. They must be observed, but they can be expanded. As with Mosaic Law, the pious will want to build from Archbishop Fauci’s edicts. Father Fauci says to wear a mask over your face. And that’s fair, of course, it’s your duty.
But especially good people might want to upgrade from there — from a mere mask to a plastic bag. Same civic-minded spirit behind the project, but more of it. Plastic is far less permeable than cotton, therefore it’s safer.
We dare a COVID germ to sneak through plastic. Go ahead. Try it. You can’t. But for some, even conventional plastic may not be enough. Might not be “good enough” in a moral sense. Would you really trust your life to a sandwich baggie or a dry-cleaning bag? Probably not.
The truly pious will go ever further than that, and good for them. They’ll go with Hefty garden bags, or the higher-grade contractor version that demolition crews use to haul drywall off construction sites.
Tightly secured, of course, with bungee cords and electricians tape around the neck. It’s about safety. It’s about sensible common-sense precautions. For responsible people who follow those precautions, with the contractor bags, life can finally return to normal. People like that can roast all the hotdogs they want on July 4th. People like this are patriots.
By the way, they’re not doing this for themselves. They’re not suffocating for themselves alone. They do it for all of us. They’re storming the beaches of COVID, so that the rest of us could live as intended, in an obedient country. Call them heroes — or for that matter, martyrs. They’ve earned it. CNN will celebrate them in a prime time special, probably posthumously. “These are the brave Americans who believed in science.” Anderson Cooper Presents. The ultimate sacrifice for public health.