2020: The Year Trump’s Dummies Wouldn’t Wear Masks
During a global pandemic, what's the absolute least we can do to keep our fellow citizens safe? You might think it's wearing a simple facial covering to avoid spraying coronavirus on everyone, but what we've learned this year is that masks are TYRANNY. Also, Krypton is doomed.
In a mall today in Belleville, Ontario. 100% mask compliance. Literally, I did not see a single person out of the… https://t.co/w5cByxvCVM— David Frum (@David Frum) 1595885927.0
Conservative writer David Frum observed that in Canada, people, regardless of political party, "wear coats when it gets cold. Left, right, and center, they wear masks during a pandemic spread by airborne droplets. It's just not something to argue over." The results from this alignment on public health are undeniable: Canada has managed the pandemic with far more “exceptionalism" than the United States. Vox grimly noted in September that If the US had the same death rate as Canada, almost 109,000 Americans wouldn't have died from COVID-19. But at least they died with their masks off ... or more accurately, they died because someone else's mask was off. That's the whole problem.
Masks became a culture war battle in the US. Like most terrible things over the past four years, we can blame Donald Trump, who refused to wear a mask publicly because he's a science-denying moron.
Robert Hahn, a former senior researcher for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, estimated in the Harvard Gazette that as many as 12,000 COVID-related deaths are attributable to Trump's stupid lies about masks. Hahn looked at coronavirus deaths from April 3, when Trump first said something stupid about masks ("It's voluntary. You don't have to do it"), and July 21, when Trump almost came this close to modeling responsible behavior ("I will use it gladly. And I say: If you can, use the mask"). He didn't wear a mask in public like a nerd until July 11 when he'd already resumed his superspreader rallies against public health guidelines.
SMITH: If we're only allowed to be at 25 percent capacity, I want them to be the 25 percent of people that aren't p-----, that aren't sheep ... Being scared all the time isn't good for your health. It suppresses your immune system.
Professional terrible person Laura Ingraham suggested that if Democrats had their way, they'd imprison Americans in cozy cloth masks FOREVER.
INGRAHAM: It's all for safety, then everyone should know this is not a temporary thing. They will ... if they get real power ... pass a rule ... mandating that masks from here on out, on public transportation, whether it's a plane or a bus, FOREVER. Not just now. You gotta wear it during flu season. FOREVER MASKED. It's not just during COVID. It's FOREVER.
However, as a matter of policy, Trump was the annoying orange obstacle when it came to fighting COVID-19. He opposed nationwide mask mandates, as he explained in his native gibberish.
TRUMP: I don't agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask everything disappears. Dr. Fauci said don't wear a mask, our Surgeon General, terrific guy, said don't wear a mask. Everybody was saying don't wear a mask. All of a sudden everybody's got to wear a mask, and as you know, masks cause problems too, with that being said, I'm a believer in masks. I think masks are good.
Republican governors and mayors took Trump's lead and resisted issuing mask mandates, as COVID-19 spread unchecked in their states. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp even voided local mask mandates sensible mayors had implemented. This death cult behavior was in line with Trump's overall pandemic strategy of pretending the virus didn't exist.
This angry Florida woman argued today against the mask mandate, while bringing up the devil, 5G, Bill Gates, Hillar… https://t.co/GVcyB9e8RC— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@Rex Chapman🏇🏼) 1593036103.0
Deranged people, a key Trump demo, held anti-mask rallies and accused public officials of doing the devil's work, which apparently involves slowing the spread of COVID-19. Who knew Satan cared so much about public health?
Trump has used his bully pulpit as president to bully Americans who protest against police violence, but he never denounced the rightwing disinformation campaign against masks. This is likely because he was the spreader in chief of such bullshit.
Even after contracting COVID-19 himself in October, Trump still sneered at mask wearing. He said multiple times in a single day that the CDC had claimed 85 percent of the people wearing masks catch the coronavirus. This was a dangerous lie without any basis in fact or observable reality.
Savannah Guthrie called out Trump's reckless statements during his bonkers town hall: “You're the president — you're not like someone's crazy uncle." For far too long, unfortunately, he was both, but in just a few weeks, he'll no longer be president and his niece, the awesome Mary Trump, won't have anything to do with him, either.
Can't wait to see what new and stupid culture war they come up with next.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."