Dr. Fauci's Gonna Make You Wear A Mask Until COVID-19’s Gone Or You’re No Longer Ugly
Conservatives across the country want to know when they're free to rip off their oppressive facial coverings and soak in non-COVID-tainted air. This implies that they've actually worn masks regularly for the past year instead of whining about it nonstop.
Monday night, Fox News anchor Bret Baier asked Dr. Anthony Fauci when the long, national mask nightmare would end.
BAIER: Is there going to be a time when we are going to have no masks? When is that time? If you had to guess — going to a sports game, going to a theater, going to a concert without a mask.
The cart is several parsecs ahead of the horse in Baier's Kessel Run here. We haven't even reached the point where can attend concerts or the theatre while masked. Now, he's already bored with them.
I hate when people ask me to “guess," and I'm not even a scientist. I recall the words of Mr. Spock: “My guess would be valueless. I suggest we refrain from guessing and find some facts." Dr. Fauci patiently responded with the facts he had:
DR. FAUCI: That will really be dependent upon how we get the level of the virus in the community down. If we can get — and I have used this as an estimate, it is not definitive — if we can get 70 to 85 percent of the population vaccinated, and get to what we would hope would be to a degree of herd immunity which really is an umbrella or a veil of protection… where the level of virus is so low it's not a threat at all, then at that point, you can start thinking in terms of not having to have a uniform wearing of masks.
But we're not there yet!
DR. FAUCI: It's very difficult to predict, Bret, but if everything falls into the right place and we get this under control, it is conceivable that you might be able to pull back a bit on some of the public health measures as we get into the late fall of this year. But there's no guarantee of that.
There certainly is no guarantee that “everything falls into the right place" when people had a post-Super Bowl superspreader event in Tampa, Florida. That might set the timetable back.
Republicans, especially their deposed mad king, made mask wearing a culture war issue, but I confess I've grown to like masks. They're helpful units. You can even accessorize with colorful models that match whatever pair of elastic sweatpants you're wearing that day. I appreciate that masks have prevented me from contracting COVID-19 or spreading the virus to others. Yay, masks!
Last year, there were concerns about the pandemic extending into seasonal flu season, but Dr. Fauci has some mask-related good news there.
BAIER: We haven't heard a lot about the seasonal flu. We lose about 30 to 60 thousand people from the flu. Has that gone down dramatically?
DR. FAUCI: Extraordinarily dramatically. In fact, that is a very good testimony to the efficacy of wearing masks, avoiding congregate settings, and keeping distance. We did that during this late fall, early winter and the level of influenza in the community is remarkably low.
I'd noticed that we were well into February and I hadn't caught a nasty cold, which is what happens when you're around nasty people in crowded places.
Masks are great, and I will probably take Dr. Fauci's advice and start double-masking when I leave my house. He said last week that it “just makes common sense," especially against the new, scary mutant COVID-19 variant. Unfortunately, Republicans like sociopathic South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem continue to reject the science behind masks and for the most ridiculous reasons.
NOEM: There was not a lot of data that back up that mask mandates work. Now there are some masks that work and when worn appropriately and when people wear the right ones appropriately in the right situations, they can make a difference.
She's right: Masks don't work if you're too dumb to wear them correctly. Pants are also ineffective if you wear them over your head.
Wearing a mask isn't a death sentence. Death is a death sentence. Masks are on the anti-death team.
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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."