Across North America, mask mandates that were in place for the last two years are being lifted even as Covid cases rise. This includes my province where we were so careful for so long. (Update: My province is Nova Scotia.)
Politicians are caving to the pressure of the we-have-to-learn-to-live-with-it approach by the most vocal of their constituents.
Masks are still RECOMMENDED by the health departments of the government, even if they are not REQUIRED. Even politicians who supported mask mandates all along are now changing their tune and saying it's up to individuals to "do the right thing" and use the tools (including masking) that we know help in reducing the spread of Covid.
But there are too many people who aren't doing "the right thing". They couldn't wait to take off their masks and no amount of appealing to their better nature will make them put those instruments of oppression (haha) back on.
One person wearing a good mask = some protection.
But everyone wearing masks = better protection.
Your protection is automatically less now if the people around you are not also wearing one.
There are still just as many vulnerable people out there. And they are the ones who are effectively being punished now. When they go shopping for groceries, medications, and other necessities, their environment is no longer as safe as when everyone was required to mask up. The vulnerable include not just the very elderly and the immuno-compromised but anyone with a chronic health condition and also those of us who are just barely out of middle age.
This decision has really gotten my hackles up.
Infectious diseases experts are worried about the lifting of mask mandates. These are the people who have the training and experience to make the best judgement. They are the people who saw the potential for a pandemic years ago but were only half-listened to by elected officials, because what was seen as a fairly remote possibility was not a sexy issue for political campaigning; therefore there was no way to fund precautionary measures.
The experts say we just don't have enough data yet to suddenly drop restrictions. They favour a more gradual approach and are no longer even talking about "herd immunity". This virus is not behaving like others we have seen. Vaccines and boosters aren't giving lasting immunity. Even catching the virus is not giving lasting immunity. Hospitalizations and deaths are still continuing at too high a rate among the unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
As far as I can see, the only way around the increased risk caused by the dropping of mask mandates is to wear the best mask you can find.
Cloth masks are now considered by experts as not very effective against the much more contagious omicron BA.2 variant currently circulating.
Medical masks are somewhat better, especially if you alter them using the "knot and tuck" method ...
... or if you wear two masks together (either a well-fitting cloth mask over a medical mask, or two medical masks - the one closest to your face using the knot & tuck method and the one on top worn the regular way, with the elastics knotted if necessary to give a closer fit).
The best single masks are the KF94 (Korean), N95, N99, and KN95 (Chinese) masks, according to experts. But not everyone can afford them, nor does everyone have access to them. Some of them (such as the ones I bought a load of) are also more difficult to put on and therefore are not as good a choice when you will be taking your mask off and putting it back on without having access to handwashing or hand sanitizer, because you could contaminate the inside of the mask with your hands.
Anyhow, all the griping in the world will not change what the politicians have decided on this issue. They are going to do what all the other politicians are doing. They are all going to protect themselves. And I'm not talking about masks in that sentence.
When things can't change, all that's left is the pleasure of complaining. And so I do.
So let us mitigate the complaining with a few funnies. They help a little, plus they're free,
non-addictive, non-alcoholic, and non-fattening, although maybe a little addictive 😀 (Thank you for that, EC). Enjoy.
Wait just a sec ... first we must have a meme that fits the post:
Okay, NOW we can proceed.
|All right, I confess - this is me. I have bought pinecones in a store. I don't know anybody with a pine tree that I can beg to give me their pinecones.
Have a good week :)