It happened again because of course it happened again. The latest example of COVID hypocrisy, if you have enough hard-drive space to keep track, is a viral video of President Biden traipsing through a ritzy DC eatery with no mask, in defiance of the city’s strict rules. In Chicago, Mayor Lori Lightfoot was photographed at a basketball game, the only bare face in a sea of muzzled fans.
This kind of thing has been so common that it is hard to stay outraged, even though we should.
But there is another, deeper question at play here. Why won’t the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update its masking guidance as vaccinations increase, case numbers diminish and politicians, among pretty much everyone else, ignore it across the nation?
The CDC website says that “If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant, and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public, if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” A handy map shows the location of these areas — it’s basically the entirety of the United States. This guidance is vague, and not followed by massive swaths of the nation.
Why is it being ignored? Because much of its application is nonsensical on its face, so to speak. What possible health benefit is there for wearing a mask from door to table, then taking it off to eat and drink and talk all night? Every one of us knows that 10 seconds of following the hostess to your table is not a potential superspreader event. It’s such performative idiocy.
Meanwhile, CDC guidelines still say if you take a kid across state lines, say on vacation, you have to quarantine for 10 days. Is any parent in the country actually doing this? We should hope not, because it’s insane. Even Fauci the Merciful, who has relented and has now pronounced we can have holiday gatherings, isn’t mentioning this. Because he knows he would look like a fool.
So why do these absurd rules — which most people don’t follow anyway, and seem to be based on about as much science as Tarot cards — still exist at all? And more importantly, what metrics do we need to hit for them to go away? That’s one query the exultant and high experts will never answer. When it comes to imposing restrictions, the science is strict, settled and exact; when it comes to easing restrictions, it’s all a rich tapestry of who really knows.
Enough. When mask mandates made their first appearance in the spring of 2020, many feared we would wind up wearing them forever. Those people were mocked as alarmists. Well, it’s almost 2022, what gives? Everyone over 12 can get a vaccine that we are promised gives fantastic protection, and young kids continue to only very rarely have significant illness.
People can decide for themselves whether they want to keep wearing masks, if they are high-risk or nervous. As for the rest of us, what are we waiting for? We have long passed common sense. We need some answers about how and when these rules will end. And we need them now.
David Marcus is the author of “Charade: The COVID Lies That Crushed A Nation.”
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