I'm definitely a pro-masker. It's difficult being a pro-masker in a state that is overwhelmingly anti-mask. Don't let the mask mandates fool you. Sure there's more people wearing masks here than before the mandate, but there's also a lot of holes in the system, a lot of breaches in the security. A lot of non-compliance, non-enforcement, and a lot of people wearing the masks either inconsistently, improperly, or who wear the wrong kinds of masks, such as neck gaiters and bandannas, bandannas being barely better than nothing, and neck gaiters having actually been proven to be worse than not wearing a mask at all.
Where I live the people I see not wearing masks in public can be classified into three primary categories: they are typically either people under 30, Latinos of all ages, or what I would describe as white trash redneck, aka Trumpers who get all their Covid-19 information from Facebook and FOX. That's pretty much the anti-mask demographic where I live.
I live in a state with over 200,000 cases of Covid and a high death rate per 100,000 people. I believe the state of Arizona is in the top ten for deaths per 100,000. Anyway, my state is sort of a hotspot with over 200,000 cases, though the numbers have definitely been falling. We've gone from at our worst 4,000 cases a day, to lately less than a thousand. It appears the mask mandate has been doing some good, but maybe not good enough, likely because of the reasons I've stated above.
In other words, a mask mandate means nothing without consistent compliance or enforcement.
What the fuck? I go to the grocery store last week and noticed a couple customers in the store not wearing masks. Since this is not something I've ever seen before at this particular store I decided to report it at their customer service counter. They sent the manager over and the people were really nasty and refused to comply, so apparently the police were called.
I didn't stick around long enough to find out what ultimately happened but while I was waiting in line to check out I noticed a US postal worker in uniform had also entered the store without a mask. He came in to buy two jumbo cans of beer. Shows where his priorities are at. No one said a word to him. No one told him that masks were required. No one tried to stop him from entering the store without a mask. No one refused to do business with him. The customer service people, the cashiers, the cart attendants, they never said a word. I said something to the cashier. And she said she's not allowed to say anything.
After I checked out I asked the cart attendant who was sanitizing carts outside the main entrance, who clearly sees everyone coming and going, I asked him if he's been given any directions of what to do when people enter the store without masks. He told me he's not allowed to do anything. He can't make contact with the people at all. Next thing I knew the manager comes outside to talk to me, to let me know that he spoke to the people I had reported, and that the authorities had been called because they were non-compliant. I proceeded to tell him about the mailman who wasn't wearing a mask who had already left.
He confirmed that none of the employees are allowed to confront anyone not wearing a mask, out of regard to their own personal safety. The only person authorized to confront customers not wearing masks is a manager, but here's the most relevant piece of information, in that apparently the manager only confronts the people if a customer complains about it. If no one complains about it no one does anything. Sounds like not enforcing the mandate to me.
I have no way of knowing, but I wouldn't be surprised if the cops never even showed up, because from what I've observed here in the city I live in the police aren't wearing masks either, neither are the paramedics, or firemen. Their all exempt. Which is fine and dandy when their working outside, but when such people are in close proximity to others indoors, they should be wearing a mask, and the fact that they aren't suggests to me that enforcement would be a low priority. I mean really how do you expect someone to enforce the mask mandate when they themselves aren't wearing a mask?
Yes, I believe we are in big trouble. Wearing a mask is the single most effective strategy against Covid-19 when staying home, or socially distancing isn't possible. But people don't like wearing masks. They think they are uncomfortable and that it violates their freedom to be stupid. Yes, we are in big trouble.
One last word in parting, I want to really emphasis this point. That when you have states that had long-term mask mandates, places like California and New Jersey and New York, but still had, and in the case of California still has, super high rates of infection, the anti-maskers love to entertain the possibility that masks really don't help. How else do you explain it they say, that even with the strictest COVID-19 restrictions in the country, mandatory masks, shelter-in-place, and the closing of non-essential businesses, why is it that these places still had the worst cases in the country in spite of it all? They conclude that it's because there was no stopping this disease, that it just has to run its course until enough people get infected and survive and develop so-called herd immunity, therefore the restrictions, including masks, are a waste of time and money.
Okay, I'm obviously not an epidemiologist, so I'm not even going to try to go there to explain what's happening here on that level, other than that whose to say it wouldn't have been worse without the restrictions, we'll never know, or that maybe there was a more virulent strain of the virus that hit some places harder than others that infected enough people before the restrictions were implemented that there was no stopping it. Or the third possibility that I propose, which is happening right now in places like California and in my own state, is that despite the mask mandate and the requests to socially distance and to limit large gatherings, is largely going unheeded, or not consistently followed. Like I said, maybe people aren't allowed to officially gather in large groups, but whose to stop them doing so privately in their own backyards and homes?
I mean the point is just because there's a mask mandate doesn't mean people have been consistently following it.
Maybe they wear a mask when they go into a store, but as soon as they come out the mask comes off. And it wouldn't be a problem if it was just them, but not only do the masks come off, but they stay off when they talk to other people. They socialize with people they don't live with, they talk really close together, face-to-face, without wearing masks. And these are elderly and people with pre-existing conditions, too. I see it all the time where I live. They hug each other, they kiss each other, they shake hands. It's as if they think the pandemic is over. They say: "This is normal. I'm not going stop living my life and being social just because of some stupid virus. Only losers socially distance. Only weirdos wear masks."
That's the mentality we're dealing with here. And that's why this virus is out of control. Not because of a virus running its natural course, but because most people are selfish and stupid. And like I said before in an earlier post, if washing hands with soap suddenly became legally mandated I'd be willing to bet money that some of these anti-maskers would surely out of defiance stop washing their hands with soap, because they are like selfishly stupid spoiled little children.
Disclaimer: This rant only pertains to areas with large incidences of Covid-19 where people are largely ignoring the guidelines. If you live in a location that has relatively low levels of Covid-19 then perhaps you are right not to wear a mask or to socially distance, but hopefully you are washing your hands with soap, for that there is no excuse.