I’m caught between wanting to weigh in and just letting it go. Decided to comment on a Facebook post where someone copied an article claiming something like mounting scientific evidence for masks. The article cited two studies and the rest of it was opinions and projections which aren’t scientific evidence.
One of my main concerns is that people use mask interchangeably and assume all masks are created equal. Most of the studies that are cited use surgical masks which aren’t perfect but are better than the cloth masks most of us are forced to wear because you couldn’t find surgical masks. With cloth masks, the evidence is far from settled as to their effectiveness given the wide variation in masks and how people wear them.
One government official made a statement that if everyone wore a mask, we’d have this thing under control in two weeks. Now that is total and complete BS because there is no data anywhere that shows how quickly masks can reduce the spread. But it is taken as gospel by most folks and I’m learning that there are just certain things that can’t be discussed.
The other big issue I have with masks is that they aren’t a substitute for social distancing. The WHO is very clear on this in their statement (which I found to be reasonable and balanced). Masks should be considered more of a last resort to be used in situations where you can’t practice social distancing or isolation. But you should be limiting those instances where you are put in situations where you can’t practice social distancing.
And I get it. People want things to get back to “normal”. I know a lot of people who are still taking vacations which is part of the problem with this country – you can’t control movement so you can’t keep people from high risk areas out of low risk areas. The WHO cautions that masks could provide a false sense of security. That is you could assume you could act like pre-Covid days if you wear a mask. Which isn’t necessarily true.
But I also think there is something to the psychological aspects of it. Wearing a mask makes people feel like they are doing something. This little virus can make you feel fearful, helpless and that life is totally out of control. Even if it is a false sense of security, maybe the mask just makes people feel like they are doing something to fight it. Taking back a little control of their lives. And I think that makes it even harder to have rational discussions about the pros and cons.
Of course, for all my talk about masks, I’m probably being more cautious than a lot of people. We still have not gone to a restaurant. We haven’t been to the Farmer’s market yet this year. We haven’t gone to a mall or a tourist attraction (since they are open again). The riskiest thing I do is the dance lesson. Other than that, we avoid crowded spaces and pretty much keep to ourselves. Have no plans for any vacation this year. Just want to toss that out there because I do take this seriously even if I’m not a true believer in the cloth masks.
Anyway, I think it is probably best to just let people follow their own paths. I can’t control things but I can control my reaction to them. That’s what I just have to keep working on.