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Masks

Yes, as I type, mask mandates are being dropped all over the place, with the odd country (Scotland, I’m looking at you…) bringing them back because, surprise! Cases are rising again. Here in Ontario where I live, the mandates were lifted yesterday and I thought I’d take a short while to muse on that (yes, this is going to be in my not famous at all museletter too). My daughter went to school with a mask on yesterday and reported back that she only saw one other person masked up, and one teacher. Frankly I am not immensely surprised. We live in a rural area where individualism appears to be on the rise. It’s disappointing but not unexpected. What was unexpected was when I popped into my local supermarket to find the majority of people masked. It was a pleasant surprise and most welcome (because my daughter also works there, and some encouragement in the form of others being sensible is nice). Yes, I’ve heard all the arguments about masks, children, development and so forth and whilst I hear the issues I have exactly the opposite experience with those around me. It’s definitely a subjective issue but there are some objective facts around it. For instance, the risk of transmission is reduced by up to 95% if all people wear masks in proximate settings. 95% seems to me to be worth it given that it takes, oh, 3 or 4 seconds to put a mask on, and contrary to the opinion of some, doesn’t actually infringe on your rights at all. In fact, not wearing one, with that kind of a number in front of you, severely restricts the rights of others, if you think about it objectively. That numerous children’s hospitals were asking for just a couple more weeks (given that people undoubtedly went away over the last week’s break) and were unheard, and that some school boards (like Toronto) asked if they could keep their mandates in place a while longer were refused, and that testing is basically not available, and that reporting is not being done, leads me to believe that the government has basically given up on a whole swathe of people and is hiding the problems that I fear will arise. I hope I am wrong about all of this, but I am very worried that the next wave is going to be bad and we won’t even be allowed to know how bad. You may want to accuse me of panic or scaremongering but when the majority of medical practitioners (even the medical officer for Ontario) say they will be keeping their masks on in proximate settings there’s probably something there? The “it’s a choice” refrain is rather sadly pathetic given that the choice not to do something that takes no time at all and doesn’t actually hurt you, takes away the choice of a whole bunch of other people because they are compromised in some way. When did “it’s a choice” begin to mean “I can be selfish if I want”? Call me whatever you like, but please, don’t involve me in your little social experiments and, if you choose not to wear a mask indoors, just, you know, stay around 100 feet away.

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