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April 22, 2021

Comments

Lovely post. I understand the sentiment totally, things are going well, but there is a certain amount of, well, guilt that you are managing. It's not really helped by the fact that playing Eeyore was never such a safe bet. I'm dealing with part time teachers and I've been setting things up so we can yet again go to online and there is some 'why all the tech'. Well, surprise surprise, the umpteenth wave is on the way and we are going to required online courses again. It sucks to be correct...

I should have said: Everyone close to me has been very careful -- and lucky. I know that taking care isn't necessarily enough in a world where there are no guarantees.

I read a quote not long ago that has come back to me again and again: "God didn't promise us tomorrow." Source: LeBron James, who I'm very glad does not just shut up and dribble.

Yes, a lovely and timely post. I too have been lucky: no covid, and fairly hermitlike myself so no particular hardship from a lockdown which effectively started for me after the first week of February 2020. I was ill for a time in late 2020 and early 21, and had to have extensive and ennervating treatment for some months, but am much better now and starting, tentatively, to take care of business (dentist, drugstore etc). I was due to have my second vaccination today, but "supply problems" have postphoned it til the 30th, so there is that.

But for me too, the last few years (Trump, Brexit etc) continue to disturb me badly. How could these things actually have happened? It should have just been a bad dream.

It feels a little like getting out of a spaceship on an unknown planet, armored and tense, and wondering: what is this place going to be like, anyhow?

Beautifully and exactly put.

Monday was our 25th wedding anniversary. My wife and I hadn't done anything of note involving just the two of us in a while, even before pandemic. We're both fully vaccinated now, so I decided to get a room at the hotel we stayed in on our wedding night - that is, the hotel building. It was the Four Seasons in Center City, Philadelphia until a couple of years ago. The Four Seasons now occupies part of a new, very large, glass skyscraper a couple of blocks away from it's former location. And it's very expensive (for someone like me, anyway), so it was an easy choice to stick with the building rather than the name.

Anyway, I ordered takeout sushi to eat in our room from a place a few blocks from the hotel. Walking to the sushi place in the evening in Center City took me back to the early days of the pandemic when we were locked down hard in the New Jersey suburbs and it was eerily quite. I'm pretty sure NJ had one of the strictest lock-downs in the country at the beginning because of the number of cases in NYC-metro, and it was a serious mind-f**k.

I hadn't spent much time in the city since the pandemic started, and certainly not under those circumstances - at that time of day in that part of the city. There were so few people, and almost everyone I did see was wearing a mask, even if they were alone outdoors. (I don't generally see lone people wearing masks outdoors in the 'burbs.)

It made my heart sink, seeing what was a lively, bustling place so desolate. The really strict lock-down in the suburbs seems like the distant past, at least in pandemic time, and something that was relatively short. Even though our lives are still very different than before the pandemic, our general surroundings don't feel nearly as strange as they did at the beginning. But after all this time, Center City is still nothing like it used to be.

I don't know if the few people who spend a lot of time there are used to it now, or if it's something that they are forced to endure with increasing difficulty as time goes on. For me, the experience was like a flashback to a traumatic experience that I've tried to forget.

Thank FSM for the company of my bride and some sushi and champagne to pull my head out of it.

i haven't seen anyone socially since September. and frankly, that's been fine with me. we haven't been to a bar or sit-down restaurant since last February. i only go out to stores and doctors. but, this Sunday there's a casual memorial for a friend of friends. so, wife and i are going to go hang out with friends i haven't seen in many months and people i've never seen before.

i'm ... anxious.

i got dose #2 13 days ago, so i'm probably as protected as Mr Pfizer can make me. but that only reduces my anxiety so much. 90% isn't perfect, and my wife's J&J is even less so.

i'm sure it will be fine. i'm just not ready for the old world yet.

I have the luxury of working from home already. So the biggest impact on me was actually from doing various conferences on-line rather than in person. Which is fine if they are done on the American times zones. And not too bad on the East Asian time zones. But a real pain when the time zone for scheduling is Europe -- grave shift is just not my favorite.

At this point, I'm all vaccinated, my wife gets her second shot next Friday, and the two couples we are most likely to socialize with are also on the brink of having their vaccinations finished. So . . . back to normal (for our standards of "normal").

Sure, there's stress worrying about how family members are doing. (Although they are pretty much all massive introverts, too.) And about how the country as a whole is doing. But it's nothing to what people who have been having to work in public-facing jobs all year have been dealing with. Not to mention medical personnel. Call it luck or call it privilege, either way I seem to have it.

It's been a mixed bag for me. My father died last year (heart failure) during the height of the surg. We vetoed driving through Utah (then in the throes of anti-shutdown protests) to get to Colorado so that we could sit at a memorial with another group of people decrying limits on gathering size as an attack on their religion. My mother had already passed a year before, so gathering with my brother and sister could wait. A year later we could, perhaps, make the journey, but not while the family continues to refuse vaccination and continues to protest.

There was a long, profound, embarrassed silence following the January 6th nonsense, but that has now been broken by the urge to gather maskless in public and sing praise songs to Jesus in defiance of whatever it is that fits their persecution fantasy. If I am dismayed by anything in this world it is recognizing just how far the people I love can be dragged from reality by an absurd narrative that flatters all of their cognitive biases.

We have one family in the neighborhood that we have visited in-person during the last year (six feet apart and masked), and another that we had met who have since moved to the PNW who we now meet on Zoom. Yet we are more involved than ever in our socializing because we have two regular weekly sessions of D&D that meet more consistently on Zoom and Roll20 than we ever could have managed in normal times, so it feels like we are actually more connected than we were before the pandemic.

And echoing JanieM's invocation of science fiction tropes, my SF class has done better with engaging students since the outbreak than ever before. The Obama years really strained student interest in SF because the world seemed to them not to need alternatives. The Umber Hulk years saw a bit more connection with the genre, but the pandemic rendered their old world in alien perspective, and that really opened them to the power of estrangement as a mode of representation.

And here we are.

Lovely post, JanieM.

I'm grateful every day that the pandemic did not deprive me of health, life, or livelihood; that all my friends and relatives came through OK (so far); and that the lack of in-person social contact hardly bothered me.

I am less grateful - actually, appalled - at what the pandemic revealed about my country.

There were two responses to the pandemic:

One where people pulled together, rooted for each other, and took whatever precautions were needed to help everyone make it through.

The other was the polar opposite: selfish, ignorant solipsism raised to a political ideology. An ideology where every man is in fact an island, entire unto himself, and owes nothing to anyone else - in fact, asking otherwise is taken as an affront to his entire self-sufficiency, worthy of a violent reaction.

The latter aren't merely a negligible number out on the fringes, either. There are enough to support a national authoritarian/fascist Party.

It was very eye-opening. I'll never feel the same about "my fellow Americans," knowing how many would be happy to attack or kill me just for wearing a mask.

The upside there: if someone refuses to wear a mask, they are instantly identifiable as someone who doesn't care about anyone but himself. It can be useful to find that out early, before you get very involved with them, either socially or for business or in any other way.

OK, it's grasping at straws. But I actually think that, given that those people exist (and in such numbers), there's something to be said for having them self-identify.

The responses to COVID only confirmed what I already thought after the former guy's election.

wj: the eternal looker-on-the-bright-side. It's enviable in many ways, probably extremely good for one's mental health.

probably extremely good for one's mental health

Especially when one has a tendency to depression otherwise. ;-)

I would like to respond in depth but, I won't. I have nuclear family, children and grandchildren that live MA and FL. They pretty much epitomize Caseyl's ends of the spectrum, yet in every way outside masks and vaccines you couldn't find more loving and caring group of people.

I lived the first 2/3 of the year in MA, isolated and safe. Never venturing beyond old peoples hours at the supermarket. Then I lived in FL from Oct until now.

The only conclusion I will share is that most of what's common thought about "those" people on both sides is bs. No one really goes to public places in either places if they don't feel well, or if they know they have been exposed. Young people are stupid everywhere and the risk of getting covid wasn't much higher either place.

People have differing opinions on things in large part based on what seems right. In FL you simy don't venture out if you are high risk, same in MA. You don't visit with people who present a higher risk. Same in MA, the difference lies in the middle area where low risk people have tended to try to normalize their lives faster in FL.

Me, I go anywhere I want. I wear a mask if the establishment asks me to, I generally don't now if not asked. I am, as far as I can tell, a minute covid risk to myself and others. I'm more likely to die in a c ar wreck on the way to the bar than from covid at this point. Those risks I have lived with all my life.

I find myself effected in quiet by the toll it has taken on others, I know lots of people who have now had it. Just a few acquaintances have passed.

I am, as far as I can tell, a minute covid risk to myself and others.

Is this based solely (or mainly) on the fact that you have had covid? And if on other facts, are you prepared to elucidate?

Plus fully vaccinated

Ah, I see. Thank you Marty.

Marty, while your own calculus may make sense to you on how much of a risk you pose (and I am not arguing that point to say you are wrong) I wonder how your presence is viewed by the person in your community who is immunocompromised. How much anxiety and stress might you have added to that person's life by deciding that you are no risk to them when they have no way of knowing that you have given one though to their own circumstances?

Not meant as a personal attack. I would word it more impersonally, but we are all smart enough here to make inferences from context, so I'm just putting this out there as food for thought.

Our own choice of public personal risk gets performed in public and sends messages to others of their own place in public, and choosing an exemption for oneself may place constraints upon others as a result.

nous makes a good point, as so often. The people who see you (or anybody) out and about don't know why you are not wearing a mask. It's worth thinking about.

Eventually, we'll reach the point where wearing a mask depends primarily on the actual risks. To you and to others. Speed the day!

But at the moment, we are still in a place where wearing a mask, or not, is at least as much about making a statement as about actual risks. Regretable, but true. And even if you don't see yourself as making a statement, others are going to perceive a message regardlees.

nous, certainly why I wear it in places where it is requested. I would expect those people who are immunocompromised as I am to make a calculus on those places where it is not.

Mine was to avoid them. As we get a majority of people immunized it will be more difficult to enforce those things that simply don't apply to them.

I've only worn a mask outside when entering and exiting stores and other public spaces. Even though I live in a city of 287,000, I can walk for miles along the streets without encountering anyone else. And the risk is so close to zero as not to matter when walking past the occasional pedestrian.

I probably wouldn’t have stayed in a hotel if my wife and I weren’t fully vaccinated, though in hindsight it seemed much safer than going to the grocery store. Everyone was masked and people were few and far between.

Other than the hotel stay, my behavior hasn’t changed. I’m just less anxious about things like going to the store and such. I can’t imagine walking into an indoor public space without a mask. No one here does that that I’ve seen but for the rare and controversial exception.

Even before I left MA the corner packy was about 50%. I always wore one.

in every way outside masks and vaccines you couldn't find more loving and caring group of people.

to me, the question is how wide the circle of 'loving and caring' extends. and, probably, what inconvenience you are willing to take on yourself to make that real.

everybody's 'loving and caring' to the people they personally care about, and who personally care about them.

just speaking for myself, I see it this way - a shitload of people died from this fucking virus. if you can't wear a damned mask to help rein it in, I'm not really interested in how loving and caring you are, I just want you to stay the hell away from me. your loving and caring self could quite easily still be the death of me, so stay the f**k away.

it's great that you're vaxed. that means you probably won't get particularly sick or die if you are exposed to the virus. it doesn't mean you can't hand it off to somebody else.

to me, somebody not wearing a mask in public means they don't really give a shit if they cause my death. not enough that they can be bothered to wear a damned piece of cloth over your mouth and nose. so I'm just gonna stay the hell away from anyone like that. I won't get in a car that's being driven by a drunk, and I won't be around people who won't wear a mask in public places. Those things seem pretty much equivalent to me.

to be completely honest, this is just not something I'm even all interested in debating. it's a waste of time. people are gonna do whatever the hell they want. I just them to stay the hell away from me.

the fact that you, personally, are unlikely to get sick, does not mean that you can't carry the virus or hand it off to somebody else. I don't know if you realize that or not, but that is the reality. if that matters to you, act accordingly. if not, then nothing anybody here has to say is going to change anything you do.

as far as finding current times particularly disturbing or unsettling or frightening...

In my lifetime, marginalized people weren't just marginalized, they were systematically excluded from full participation in society by law and by ubiquitous common practice.

Also in my lifetime, the police and intelligence agencies of the nation engaged in deliberate and systematic programs of suppressing dissenting voices, up to and including assassination.

Also in my lifetime, civil unrest resulted in cities on fire at a scale that makes the great George Floyd BLM protests look almost trivial.

COVID has been a nightmare in many ways, but if we go back before my lifetime, there has been polio, and other outbreaks of influenza, and cholera, and any number of other plagues great and small.

So I'm oddly optimistic. I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family in person again, and maybe playing some music with people, and maybe, someday, traveling a bit again. All of those things are either highly likely or certain to happen.

The freaking madness of Trump and Trump-ishness is pretty much that, it's insane. So it has a sell-by date. Reality always wins. I won't say it doesn't concern me, it's an expression of a deep and long-standing set of issues and tendencies, here and elsewhere. But it's a bag of lies, so it can't and won't endure. Or at least prevail. That's my thought.

As a function of my basic personality and temperament, I am by nature skeptical and pessimistic. But I'm not afraid.

Members don't get weary. Keep your eyes on the prize. Those are my mottoes, I guess.

"the fact that you, personally, are unlikely to get sick, does not mean that you can't carry the virus or hand it off to somebody else. I don't know if you realize that or not, but that is the reality. if that matters to you, act accordingly. if not, then nothing anybody here has to say is going to change anything you do."

This just isn't true. Sure there is some miniscule chance I can still get it, which creates a miniscule chance that I could pass it along. That will exist, forever. Are you suggesting based on those chances we should wear a mask forever? That is a serious question.

This just isn't true.

Well, says you.

CDC says otherwise.

we should wear a mask forever?

If you’re asking me, then I’d say wear a mask in public places until herd immunity is established.

I’m not an epidemiologist, so I’d ignore what I say and follow CDC recommendations.

Or, you know, do what you want.

The CDC is actually not very good at this.

After you've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, you should keep taking precautions—like wearing a mask, staying 6 feet apart from others, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces—in public places until we know more.

So, we don't know enough to actually tell you what your risks are to yourself or others, However:

Visit with other fully vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing

Visit with unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease indoors without wearing masks or physical distancing

Refrain from quarantine and testing following a known exposure if asymptomatic

Resume domestic travel and refrain from testing before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.

Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

Take precautions in public like wearing a well-fitted mask and physical distancing

Wear masks, practice physical distancing, and adhere to other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people who are at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease or who have an unvaccinated household member who is at increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease

Wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice other prevention measures when visiting with unvaccinated people from multiple households

Avoid medium- and large-sized in-person gatherings

Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms

Follow guidance issued by individual employers

Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations

So, I should avoid medium size groups but I can get on a plane and not get tested before or after. I can visit with one family but not with two. With no mask or distancing and even if exposed there is no need for me to get tested.

And then the obvious, I should avoid high risk people with comorbidities, one of my daughters fits that and we sure as he'll have avoided her, but now she's vaccinated so we get to see her.

The sum of all that is that I'm not much of a risk to me or others in general so I where a mask when entering public places that request me to, even if no one else is wearing one. I avoid high risk people and the rest is a mix of politics and cya language that utterly fails at defining the actual risk. Because the just don't know.

I am sympathetic to the desire to oversell the vaccines but I am also sympathetic to people who wonder why vaccinated people still need to do all this stuff if the vaccine works, after a year of being told the endgame for returning to normal was a vaccine.

In a world where you can have a concert except you can't sing legally, you should expect intelligent people to make informed decisions for themselves.

So, we don't know enough to actually tell you what your risks are to yourself or others
you should expect intelligent people to make informed decisions for themselves

How does that work? These intelligent people know more than is known?

It's not in fact all that complicated. We know that Covid vaccines greatly reduce but do not eliminate the risk of symptomatic disease. We know that for most diseases generally vaccines do not eliminate the risk of transmission by a vaccinated person.

So those of us who have been vaccinated are less likely to pass on Covid, but still might.

I'm baffled by the notion that it's ok for someone not to incur the mild inconvenience of wearing a mask because "they just don't know" how great the risk is of infecting others.

I was struck by Marty's mention of "the corner packy", which the internet tells me is a corner shop selling, among other things, packaged alcoholic drinks.

In England we used to have "Paki shops" - we still have the shops, but the name is not much used, since we've become less crass. These were local shops distinguished by their long opening hours. They arose in the 1970s, usually owned and run by Ugandan Asians, mostly Gujarati not Pakistani, who had been expelled by Idi Amin. Despite the racial connotations, the word was used positively - most people were pleased with the service.

So homophones with closely similar meanings but entirely different origins.

I am baffled by the notion that there is no level of this that will ever be achieved that will remove the theatrical desire to have everyone masked. It is a ludicrous conversation. There will NEVER be zero chance of catching or transmitting this virus.

But WE DO KNOW "Less likely" is actually a whole lot less likely. Not zero but live your life normally less likely.

A short review of that list demonstrates that the CDC believes that. It splits hairs "no medium sized groups", "one family", they are pretty sure the vaccine works but still can't just say if your vaccinated then just go on with your life.

Also, The only time a mask protects anyone else is in confined spaces within six feet. So I still avoid close contact in any public setting, masked or not. That habit probably won't go away.

The CDC is actually not very good at this.

But you, however, are.

Look Marty, you caught Covid between your first and second fax. Odds of that are low, yet it happened.

Everybody is entitled to assume whatever risks they like for themselves. Nobody is entitled to make those choices for other people. That’s my own personal calculus, FWIW.

Whether people are loving and caring or are generally nice people has bugger-all to do with it.

The CDC recommends that people wear masks and observe social distancing until we all understand how effective the van is at preventing transmission and/or we reach herd immunity. It’s not that big of an ask. You believe yourself to be better qualified than the CDC to make judgements about these things. So you’re gonna do what you want to do.

So if I bump into you, or the many millions of people like you, I will give you a very wide berth.

You make your choice, that’s mine.

I'm baffled by the notion that it's ok for someone not to incur the mild inconvenience of wearing a mask because "they just don't know" how great the risk is of infecting others.

Nothing baffling about it. Welcome to America, land of the free.

"But you, however, are"

It's not my job, they just aren't good at communication. I have to try to figure how what they are really saying and what it means I should be worried about.

The CDC is actually not very good at this.

But you, however, are.

This is right at the heart of why I say I'm living on a different planet from the one I thought I was. A friend of a friend of my kids decided right at the start that he was going to "do his own research" -- and he hasn't worn masks from the start, in any situation where he can get away with it. My kids don't go near him now.

My son, who like me went to MIT, has told me about the level of snark over this shit among people he knows who do actual research rather than "research" via poking around among articles on the internet by uncertainly credentialed idiots, or just uncredentialed idiots.

"Research" and "logic" by people who have no relevant professional competence whatsoever, and who come to a different "conclusion" from the epidemiologists and doctors and scientists of all other sorts, and then belligerently shove their "conclusions" in our faces, sometimes to the point of killing people over them (recent case, Michigan I think....others earlier). And that's to say nothing of killing people via the virus itself.

Unbelievable.

So if I bump into you, or the many millions of people like you, I will give you a very wide berth.

The attitude of those millions is most eloquently expressed by a woman who, with a small group, spent a lot of time protesting COVID restrictions on the main downtown corner in Belfast, Maine: "I'm not responsible for your health."

A very wide berth indeed. Murderous idiots.

Daily new cases are still above 60K in the US, so asking if we’ll have to wear masks forever seems premature. And the more it circulates, the more it mutates. Your vaccination may not be effective against a new variant. Not wearing a mask in public indoor spaces is just f**king stupid.

it's not that big of an ask

That's one of the most amazing parts (as in amazingly dismaying). It's just a freaking mask! It's not like people are being asked to cut off their right arm!

It's like: we don't know as much as we'd like about this virus even now, or what ideal best practices would be. So because there's uncertainty, and because communication hasn't been 100% perfect (2+2=4, wouldn't that be nice), wtf, I'm not going to make this minor sacrifice to be extra sure I don't pass the virus from one person to another.

I can't even. WTMFF.

hsh -- Not wearing a mask in public indoor spaces is just f**king stupid.

Not just stupid but sorry, murderously stupid.

We are in this third or is it fourth wave because there were too many millions of people right from the start who couldn't be bothered, and so kept spreading the virus. Eight people, and that's only the relatively direct connections, died because of that wedding in Maine last spring, and the pastor who performed the marriage never stopped defying COVID rules. And he was the tip of the iceberg.

As for wearing a mask now: Marty makes the direct connection with the idea that we're going to be back to "normal" sometime and that means not wearing a mask. Never mind that as hsh's numbers show, we're not remotely back to normal.

We've got a significant population of people who are fine with a lottery that in effect kills a percentage of their neighbors unnecessarily. I guess they don't think it will happen to them.

Funny how much like the US gun insanity that sounds.

Meanwhile, we’re starting to hit the wall of vaccine hesitancy/skepticism/defiance. A significant percentage of our fellow Americans will keep this thing alive in sufficient volume over sufficient time for it mutate and adapt, so the rest of us may well have to wear masks forever. If you don’t want to wear masks forever, wear one now and get vaccinated. Not enough people will do both.

Also, too, don’t think that what’s happening in India now isn’t going to affect the rest of the planet eventually.

Not to mention Brazil.

Have just read (sorry, cannot now find the link) that there are large swathes of the US where almost no vaccine is being taken up, and pharmacists are begging people (to no avail) to come in for vaccination - in a country where 560,000 people have already died, and rising.

Meanwhile, here is the NYT today on the calculations about when to wear a mask etc:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/well/live/covid-masks-outdoors.html?action=click&module=Science%20%20Technology&pgtype=Homepage

Nobody is asking anybody to wear masks forever, and nobody expects that we'll have to wear masks forever. At the rate that vaccines are being given, my guess FWIW is that we could probably get to something like herd immunity here in the US in a year, maybe less. Assuming enough people actually got vaccinated.

Covid was the 3rd leading cause of death in 2020, and is the leading cause of death so far in the US in 2021. Order of magnitude, something like 1 in 500 people have died from COVID in the US in the last year. And we don't have it as badly as a lot of other places. It's a nasty freaking virus.

We'd all like to get back to 'normal', where 'normal' means worrying about a virus is not front and center in everybody's mind. Our understanding of virus is incomplete, so organizations like the CDC give the best direction they can with the evidence they have in hand. I'm sure their recommendations will change as more is known and understood, and as the conditions on the ground change. The direction they do give seems, to me, pretty easy to understand and follow, other's MMV.

We don't have a regime that imposes any legal or other sanction for not observing CDC guidelines, and we probably don't want one. I don't. So people are gonna do what they think is best.

I don't hate people who either decline or outright refuse to do simple things like wear masks in public. Some of them make me angry, because no few of them are quite belligerent about it. But basically I avoid them, because not wearing a mask in public places where other people are around seems, to me, a reckless and foolish thing to do, and I'm not interested in putting my own health and safety in the hands of reckless and foolish people.

So long story short, people are gonna do what they want to do, and I'm going to avoid the ones who present a risk to me and mine.

In this country, specifically, there are a lot of people who are infatuated with the idea that nobody, and certainly nobody from the damned government, is gonna tell them what to do. That is a position that is impervious to any attempt at persuasion. So I make no effort to persuade. I just stay the hell away.

thanks, GOP. you're the best.

This is right at the heart of why I say I'm living on a different planet from the one I thought I was.

To me, it's an indication that we're on the same planet we've always been on.

But I'm a cranky old fart.

:)

I doubt you would out-cranky me in a contest, russell. It's just that despite a lifelong sequence of knocks about the head that should have made this situation unsurprising, I still held a little flickering belief in a for-all-practical-purposes-universal sense of decency that would have inspired people to give a shit whether their neighbors died agonizing deaths that they could have helped prevent.

After the past five years, I don't know why I thought that, actually.

I'm older, too, by a not insignificant amount. ;-)

Man, I don't know. I'm thinking I was going to keep wearing a mask on public transport. It's not like I want to run an Algonquin Round Table while I'm sitting on a crowded airplane, I usually have an ipad. I wore a mask a lot in Korea, there was a big problem with Yellow Dust
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_Dust

Yes, for the foreseeable future I assume I'll be wearing a mask outdoors (or of course indoors in shops etc) in public, only taking it off when (for example) with friends, socially distanced, in their gardens. I don't have a garden unfortunately. But I'm resisting even that level of exposure (for myself or others) until two or three weeks after my second vaccination.

And very luckily for me, I almost never have to take public transport. But on the rare occasions when I have to take a bus, I will (even when fully vaccinated) continue to wear a mask for the foreseeable future.

In the winter (or what counted as winter last season, although it lacked quite a lot of the charcteristics one traditionally associates with winter) a mask actually provided some comfort. Summer will be nasty when the thing slowly fills up with sweat and has to get drained at least twice an hour. In theory one should replace it anytime it gets really moist since it protection value drops radically when not dry. And those FFP2 mask are not be washed.
Personally I have gotten quite used to wearing the mask but it is awkward in combination with a beard (and my skin does not like shaving too often).
I'd like to try this ( https://www.japantrends.com/japan-trends/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/usb-pollen-blocker-suit-hood-hay-fever-main.jpg ) if it was available around here and at a decent price. May also work as a sun shade and leaves the facial feature visible. Less awkward than this oldie I presume: https://media.sciencephoto.com/image/c0075369/800wm

Some of that is because of the virus itself, but a lot of it is because of the way people have reacted to the virus. Some of it is because of the rash of violence we’ve see in the news lately, and threats of the kind of violence represented by January 6. A lot of it is because I don’t see any clear way to close the chasm that has opened up between the “sides” in this country. Or even to build a little rope bridge across it.

Meanwhile, following on from Janie's comment in the OP, it seems that R attitudes to everything (not just responses to vaccination and the pandemic generally) are continuing to harden or, if anything, become even more extreme:

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/22/opinion/trump-gop.html?smid=tw-share

I'd say pessimism is the only rational reaction, but then I'm not wj.

Speaking of pessimism, there's Israel, where a far-right faction is making a mockery of "Never again."

I am baffled by the notion that there is no level of this that will ever be achieved that will remove the theatrical desire to have everyone masked. It is a ludicrous conversation. There will NEVER be zero chance of catching or transmitting this virus.

You have, presumably, come across the concept of "herd immunity" -- the idea that enough people have been vaccinated to reduce the overall risk of transmission to something minimal. The threshold for herd immunity varies, but the numbers I have seen for covid-19 appear to cluster around 70% vaccinated.

We are currently (as of 23 April 2021) a bit under 30% of the US population fully vaccinated according to the CDC. So we're making progress, but still have a ways to go before we reach the "back to normal living" level.

Over on Balloon Juice, there was this excellent exchange:

"Cases go down, things open up, cases go up."

"It’s exactly those predator-prey population curves you learn about in high school biology, with careless humans as the prey."

That insight struck me almost speechless.

We are a prey species; the virus is the predator. By ignoring basic, almost effortless, precautions, we are mimicking the predator/pray curve.

With, it must be said, the caveat that the most careless prey animals aren't necessarily the ones who get eaten by the predator - often, it's their friends, families, and co-workers.

Dammit: that should be predator/prey curve, not predator/pray.

Grrr.

Here is a good example, having nothing to do with post vaccination behavior. From MIT

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/23/mit-researchers-say-youre-no-safer-from-covid-indoors-at-6-feet-or-60-feet-in-new-study.html

Lots of peer reviewed information.

The one true thing that can be said is that just about everyone, from mid-March last year through today, has gotten at least part of it wrong when it comes to CoVID. A certain governor was all the rage way back when, an example for us all and now it seems the data were cooked, the directives ridiculous and he's a masher to boot. Now, that unhappy ending is pretty much memory-holed.

The decision to pull J&J was very state-like, very authoritarian and very stupid.

The jury is out on Texas and Florida (and any other states following that general model). Abbot and DiSantis may be prescient or idiots. Time will tell.

For those whose bent is more open to government guidance, particularly if the gov't aligns with their personal leanings, Fauci and the CDC are pretty much the gold standard. Those who do not like gov't at all, regardless of who is running the show, tend to disregard any and everything they are told and CoVID is a globalist plot to impose socialism.

For those who are introverts and stay-at-homes, shelter in place is no great imposition. For most of the rest of us, after a while, it gets pretty damn oppressive and not workable after a month or two.

The latter consists of a ton of different slices of the population. The one I've been able to observe, basically our extended circle of friends and acquaintances + our regular work/play/shop venues, did and does what gov't can't do: make granular observations over time, perform nuanced risk assessment and determine rational trade off's on a micro level. One-size almost never fits all.

On March 11, 2020, I relocated to our final retirement destination where I had previously set up an office for remote work in view of our hurricane issues. That weekend, the wife, our daughter, son-in-law and two grandkids, came up. On March 15th, we shut down our office and sent everyone home with their work stations, supplies, etc, which again, as a result of our hurricane experience, was a bit of infrastructure my partner and I paid for so that we could maintain our operation in the event of another catastrophe.

For the first month or so, we stayed in, pretty much. So did everyone else. However, it soon became apparent that no one in our neighborhood was getting sick. Everyone wore masks and gloves to go shopping and otherwise, stayed home--about 200 families live in this neighborhood.

So people began gathering outside, maintaining social distancing and then golf started back up and, over time, people became less observant in their interactions as long as they were in the neighborhood. As good luck would have it, there are several doctors, at least one microbiologist (my wife) and others with a scientific appreciation for disease and how it spreads. By late May, those who remained in-neighborhood began gathering indoors, no masks, no social distancing. And, no disease to this day.

Two couples who mostly stayed in-neighborhood got CoVID, one couple either on a plane or at the airport and the other at a funeral. All were over 65 and three had co-morbidities. They quarantined for 2 weeks and went back into circulation, with three being virtually symptom free and one having a tough time for over a week (but did not require hospitalization). Again, no illness.

Last fall, the neighborhood club reopened for meal service and with minimal mask wearing, it has been very active and, again, no illness.

We reopened our office on a voluntary basis on Feb 1, 2021. No illness. We reopened officially on April 1. No illness so far.

By early fall, my wife and I were regularly dining out (eating outside), going to the store, going to golf courses and seeing friends and family who we knew were taking reasonable measures when in enclosed public areas.

That is, we all wear masks indoors in public venues and we wash our hands a lot. This along with limiting social contact to people who behave similarly has been successful so far. I don't declare it to be a slam dunk winner because, like I said, pretty much everyone has gotten at least part of it wrong on this topic.

I'm content, as are those who have much more specialized knowledge than me and who I depend on for input, that outdoors and no mask is safe. Nothing is perfect, so let's call it "reasonably" safe.

Likewise, with known friends who take similar precautions, the benefits of interaction outweigh the cost of self-isolation.

Wearing a mask in public, indoor venues makes sense, in addition to the foregoing, because it is a kindness to others. It is polite. It is good manners. It is no one's place to say that others who take CoVID seriously are paranoid and, therefore deserve no consideration. I find masks mildly to moderately uncomfortable. I'd much rather not wear a mask. I also like raw onions; but I don't eat them and then ride an elevator and engage others in conversation or bring people into my somewhat cramped office for a long discussion. If wearing a mask makes others feel better *indoors*, then that's a fair compromise.

BTW, despite the lack of a mask mandate in TX, masks are far more the exception than the rule in urban areas.

The problem with our experience is that I doubt it travels well. I doubt it's broader application, and for a number of reasons.

Like it or not, most people half-listen to what they are told. The problem with getting it wrong, the problem with lauding certain people to the skies and then watching them fall ingloriously, the problem with politicizing every single damn thing is that, after a while, credibility is stretched a bit thin and people listen even less.

The problem is compounded when a crap ton of young people get CoVID and are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms like every other virus they've ever had, and they are wondering what is the big deal.

Anyone who wants to can conjure up as many worst case scenarios as they like. Over time, as these fail to materialize, the story of Chicken Little becomes reality. People quit listening all together. Raise your voice, scold even more stridently and watch the push back.

For better or for worse, people are making their own risk-assessments and deciding what they can live with. If it turns out that FL and TX got it right and NY and CA did not--even if that is the general perception--2022 and 2024 will be interesting.

There are two general approaches for thinking about new studies that have results that go against the consensus.

One is to look at the results, decide that the consensus is incorrect, and treat the current result as something to be acted upon.

The other is to note that there may be something worth probing more deeply in order to get a better picture of how things work in case the consensus missed something important, and proceed as if we don't yet know the answer, adjusting as warranted as the understanding firms up.

The second of these approaches is, literally, the conservative approach. And yet the self-identified "conservatives" seem to favor the first, mostly because the thing they seem most to want to conserve is their own preferred narrative of the world.

My anti-vax relatives are highly attuned to the presence of these sorts of contradictory studies because they fit the curve in a way that confirms their own biases and paradigms. Their "research" consists of assembling clusters of such studies to shore up their narratives while ignoring any further studies that reinforce the consensus.

I suggest reading the MIT study, not the article about the study. From the MIT abstract:

We here build on models of airborne disease transmission in order to derive an indoor safety guideline that would impose an upper bound on the “cumulative exposure time,” the product of the number of occupants and their time in an enclosed space. We demonstrate how this bound depends on the rates of ventilation and air filtration, dimensions of the room, breathing rate, respiratory activity and face mask use of its occupants, and infectiousness of the respiratory aerosols.

My early take-ways:

1. Masks are effective and saying otherwise is not supported by the article;

2. Size of room, occupancy, time of occupancy, air flow and so on seem like common sense metrics that someone, i.e. the CDC and thousands of others, should have tumbled to months ago.

3. We have a long way to go before "science" becomes reliable.

PS, I wrote a really long comment that I think must have gone into a spam trap. Could someone look and see if that is the case? Thanks.

Brilliant, Marty. Did you read the linked journal article? Do you think it says what the clickbait headline sums it up as saying? Also, any epidemiologists among the authors? Doctors? Contagious disease specialists?

I thought not.

All the bold is mine.

There's this at the beginning:

By assuming that the respiratory droplets are mixed uniformly through an indoor space, we derive a simple safety guideline for mitigating airborne transmission that would impose an upper bound on the product of the number of occupants and their time spent in a room. Our theoretical model quantifies the extent to which transmission risk is reduced in large rooms with high air exchange rates, increased for more vigorous respiratory activities, and dramatically reduced by the use of face masks.

Also toward the end:

We emphasize that our guideline was developed specifically with a view to mitigating the risk of long-range airborne transmission. We note, however, that our inferences of Cq came from a number of superspreading events, where other modes of transmission, such as respiratory jets, are also likely to have contributed. Thus, our estimates for Cq are necessarily overestimates, expected to be higher than those that would have arisen from purely long-range airborne transmission. Consequently, our safety guideline for airborne transmission necessarily provides a conservative upper bound on CET. We note that the additional bounds required to mitigate other transmission modes will not be universal; for example, we see, in Eq. 7, that the danger of respiratory jets will depend explicitly on the arrangement of the room’s occupants. Finally, we reiterate that the wearing of masks largely eliminates the risk of respiratory jets, and so makes the well-mixed room approximation considered here all the more relevant.

Our theoretical model of the well-mixed room was developed specifically to describe airborne transmission between a fixed number of individuals in a single well-mixed room. Nevertheless, we note that it is likely to inform a broader class of transmission events. For example, there are situations where forced ventilation mixes air between rooms, in which case the compound room becomes, effectively, a well-mixed space. Examples considered here are the outbreaks on the Diamond Princess and in apartments in Wuhan City (see SI Appendix); others would include prisons. There are many other settings, including classrooms and factories, where people come and go, interacting intermittently with the space, with infected people exhaling into it, and susceptible people inhaling from it, for limited periods. Such settings are also informed by our model, provided one considers the mean population dynamics, and so identifies N with the mean number of occupants.

Then there's this, their "simple guideline":

We thus arrive at a simple guideline, appropriate for steady-state situations, that bounds the cumulative exposure time (CET),

(N−1)τ < ϵλ¯¯¯cV+v¯¯¯sAQ2bp2mCqsr [I'm not going to try to reproduce this equation correctly; if you want to see what it really is, click through to the article - jm] [5]

where v¯¯¯s=vs(r¯¯), and λ¯¯¯c=λa+λf(r¯)+λv(r¯) is the air purification rate associated with air exchange, air filtration, and viral deactivation. The effect of relative humidity on the droplet size distribution can be captured by multiplying r¯ by 0.4/(1−RH)−−−−−−−−−−−√3, since the droplet distributions used in our analysis were measured at RH=60% (11).

By noting that the sedimentation rate of aerosols is usually less than the air exchange rate, λs(r)<λa, and by neglecting the influence of both air filtration and pathogen deactivation, we deduce, from Eq. 5, a more conservative bound on the CET,

Nτ<ϵλaVQ2bp2mCqsr, [ditto - jm][6]

the interpretation of which is immediately clear.

I'm sure that's far more useful to the general public than what the CDC has been putting out. /s

[I see that in the time I've spent on this comment, the thread has been moving along. I'm out now. Happy Saturday.]

Their "research" consists of assembling clusters of such studies to shore up their narratives while ignoring any further studies that reinforce the consensus.

nothing is more important than being opposed to liberals.

it's their virtue signal. and it's going to kill this country.

Interesting contrast in outlooks between McKinney

Wearing a mask in public, indoor venues makes sense, in addition to the foregoing, because it is a kindness to others. It is polite. It is good manners.
and Marty.

Anyone who wants to can conjure up as many worst case scenarios as they like.

there will be 600,000 Americans dead before the end of May.

the end is still a long ways out.

sucks that the GOP decided the best way to handle it was to politicize it, demonize those who took it seriously, and wear belligerent ignorance as a badge of honor. but here we are.

I remain baffled. I understand to some extent many people's dislike of being told what to do by the government. I do not understand why that antipathy should translate to antisocial behaviour, whatever the government thinks of it.

Wearing a mask in public, indoor venues makes sense, in addition to the foregoing, because it is a kindness to others. It is polite. It is good manners.

This.

Size of room, occupancy, time of occupancy, air flow and so on seem like common sense metrics that someone, i.e. the CDC and thousands of others, should have tumbled to months ago.

I can't really prove this one way or the other, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the epidemiologists at the CDC are aware of how factors like room size, occupancy, air flow, etc effect the likelihood of transmission.

Among other things, they're tasked with providing general guidance to the public in what behaviors are safe and which are not. I suppose they could have provided guidance like 'inquire about how many times per hour the air in the room is exchanged', or 'bring a tape measure so you can compute the total volume of the airspace in the room and divide by the number of people there'.

Most likely, it was simpler to just say 'if you are in an enclosed space, wear a mask and stay 6 feet away from each other'.

One size doesn't fit all, that's true. But some basic guidance that effectively addresses the vast majority of situations is more likely to be helpful than expecting people to evaluate the HVAC infrastructure before they enter a room.

We have a long way to go before "science" becomes reliable.

Compared to what?

Seriously, if you don't want to wear a mask, do whatever the hell you like. God knows you will not be alone.

But net/net, the more folks 'make their own decisions' about this stuff, the longer this is going to go on.

Covid is the leading cause of death in the US right now. #1. More than cancer, more than heart disease. The CDC is asking us all to help out by wearing a freaking mask when we are in enclosed public spaces, or in outdoor places if it's crowded.

It is not a big ask. If it makes you feel better, pretend it's Halloween and it's part of your costume.

This is why we can't have nice things.

SMFH

My thought about Janie's original post is that she and I and all the other boomers here were raised by people who had lived through the Depression and WWII and who had a sense of basic civic responsibility beaten into them by decades of war and privation. They lived with rationing, and scarcity, and sacrifice, and their values were formed by that.

All of us lazy-ass generations who followed think the world owes us a box of chocolates and a dozen roses, delivered at our door, daily.

I think our folks, as messed up as they and their world was in many ways, were kind of anomaly. The kinds of anti-social behavior we've had to learn to live with is, I think, more the norm for humans. Especially privileged humans, which pretty much everyone reading this is.

"People who are at ease mock those in trouble. They give a push to people who are stumbling." Job 12:5

Glad you all are safe and well. Some would respond with gratitude and with a concern for those still at risk. And, some not.

BTW, despite the lack of a mask mandate in TX, masks are far more the exception than the rule in urban areas.

Shouldn't this say "because of" rather than "despite"? Or have I completely misunderstood the term "mask mandate"?

Wearing a mask in public, indoor venues makes sense, in addition to the foregoing, because it is a kindness to others. It is polite. It is good manners.

Seconded, thirded, or wherever we've now reached.

Perhaps the intending meaning was:

BTW, despite the lack of a mask mandate in TX, masks are far more the rule than the exception in urban areas.

Until the other day in a convenience store, I hadn't seen anyone in a public space without a mask in almost a year.

I do see some people outside wearing masks. But almost all of them are on the clock and likely following employer mandates.

Charles, correct. Good catch.

"Wearing a mask in public, indoor venues makes sense, in addition to the foregoing, because it is a kindness to others. It is polite. It is good manners."

Thus in those places that require/ask people to wear masks I do. There is no mask mandate where I live, so individual businesses are at liberty to require or not require masks.

It's curious that no one has asked where they are/aren't. We have 100% occupancy in restaurants (and bars), most restaurants request you wear a mask until you get to a table. I do this and I am mostly the only one. And I recognize how stupid it is.

Most bars don't even try. So I don't.

Pretty much any big grocery store, big box store etc. Requires them and most everyone complies. Smaller places usually ask but don't insist but I wear one any time the sign is on the door.

There are people here who refuse to ever wear a mask. I disagree with that, but they are a small minority.

There were some in MA also.

The corner packy seems to always have people in it without masks here, as it started to be there before I left.

Marty, I think most of us think it's a kindness, polite and good manners etc to wear a mask in public indoors even when you are NOT required or asked. To NOT do so when required or asked is much worse than unkind, impolite and bad manners. The people who refuse ever to wear a mask are in yet a completely different category.

Raise your voice, scold even more stridently and watch the push back.

McKinney Legal Services

Specializing in Scolding Since The Year Dot

Particular expertise in Scolding People for Scolding!

Because people need to know...

Scolding brings pushback*!

FMI text "ScoldMe" to 123-4567

*Except McKinney Scolding™...which brings Self-Satisfaction.

Guaranteed.


There were some in MA also.

FWIW, I don’t think anybody here is asserting that masking compliance in MA is any better than it is in FL. I’m sure not.

We have a stronger mandate, so probably more people wear masks. And, lots of folks don’t.

Also, does anyone in FL look askance at you when say ‘packy?

:)

Twenty-four-hour voting was one of a host of options Harris County introduced to help residents cast ballots, along with drive-through voting and proactively mailing out ballot applications. The new alternatives, tailored to a diverse work force struggling amid a pandemic in Texas’ largest county, helped increase turnout by nearly 10 percent compared with 2016; nearly 70 percent of registered voters cast ballots, and a task force found that there was no evidence of any fraud.

Yet Republicans are pushing measures through the State Legislature that would take aim at the very process that produced such a large turnout. Two omnibus bills, including one that the House is likely to take up in the coming week, are seeking to roll back virtually every expansion the county put in place for 2020.

...

In Texas, Republicans have taken the rare tack of outlining restrictions that would apply only to counties with population of more than one million, targeting the booming and increasingly diverse metropolitan areas of Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/24/us/politics/texas-republicans-voting.html

Let the hand waving begin!

Janie, I loved your ad for McKinney Legal Services, especially

Particular expertise in Scolding People for Scolding!

which made me laugh a lot.

I put "the year dot" in there just for you Brits. ;-)

@cleek -- what does it remind you of, this business of weighting votes to make land more important than people?

Of course, I wouldn't elevate it to a principle, because these people have no principles except "go with whatever's expedient."

GftNC: and of course, I left out any reference to the dog whistle that is "stridency." Satire is so nearly dead that only so much of it can be re-animated in one blog comment.

Ah yes, of course. Stridency is a close cousin of overwroughtness, I do believe.

(p.s. I love the way "overwrought" has become the word du jour in these parts. It's made me feel almost affectionate towards it!)

Yeah russell, I wouldn't use it here. GftNC, it wouldn't be the least bit polite to walk in the bar on the corner with my mask on. It wouldn't be kind or good manners. There would be 40 or 50 people wondering if I was sick. None of them would have masks on.

Today only. Special sale. Some links:

Does this map tell you anything?

Nothing to see here folks, move along.

Beyond the well mixed room.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbueCxKUUTo

Masks seem like a useful first line of defense.

Btw, what is this software?

Btw, what is this software?

What software are you asking about?

In the youtube video, he writes on a transparent board and the writing is reversed/corrected so that it isn't a mirror image! Is there some sort of electronic white board? But how do they film him? Please tell me that he's really in Garfield pajamas at his house!!!

I dunno, I didn't watch that far into it yet. But it sounds like those amazing hidden blackboards I was dazzled by on the first day of 8.01 (freshman physics), brought up to date for the brave new world fifty years later. ;-)

Does this map tell you anything?

It suggests to me (if not quite tells) that Alabama's election of Senator Jones may not have been as anomalous as I had thought. Compared to neighboring states, Alabama's counties look downright anchored to reality.

GftNC, it wouldn't be the least bit polite to walk in the bar on the corner with my mask on. It wouldn't be kind or good manners. There would be 40 or 50 people wondering if I was sick.

This is the standard in Japan and would definitely be good manners.

https://www.japanesestudies.org.uk/ejcjs/vol14/iss2/horii.html

Yes it is a ritual, but like exercising, washing your hands and brushing your teeth, having rituals is not really a bad thing.

I also like the mask cause I do embouchure exercises to get in shape to play Eroica this year and no one is the wiser...

Does this map tell you anything?

Those blue zones up in northeast AZ and northwest NM are basically reservations.

Unsurprising, to me anyway, that those folks might be skeptical of the government.

If we want to have some fun with numbers, the vaxes are about 95% effective. Which means 1 in 20 people who are vaccinated can slip through the cracks.

We've vaxed about 84 million people so far. That means about 4.2 million *vaccinated* people may not be immune.

If we were talking 5% out of the whole population, this conversation would be moot. Unfortunately, we're not, and we won't be for some time, because some folks don't have the sense that god gave a radish.

Also of note - the measles vax is 97% effective. It came out in 1963. Measles was declared to be eradicated in the US in 2000. This stuff takes time. And all of it would go much more quickly if folks would simply get with the damned program.

Y'all do what you want. Play golf, go hang at your local, have a ball. I'm staying away from people who don't wear masks in public places, at least indoors or crowded outdoor places. I'm happy to change that when somebody who actually has a freaking epidemiological clue gives the high sign.

Marty and McK, that ain't either of you.

Got my second dose of Pfizer last night, it has been kicking my @ss all day. Tomorrow should be better. Have a good night.

Measles was declared to be eradicated in the US in 2000.

Measles made a bit of a comeback in 2018-19, with anti-vaxxers letting their kids come down with the disease and thereby creating mini-epidemics of infection.

I'm not sure how statistically significant any of those were - and it does seem that the lockdown in 2020 meant no one got measles or shared them with their friends, family and schools.

Pedant alert.....

If we want to have some fun with numbers, the vaxes are about 95% effective. Which means 1 in 20 people who are vaccinated can slip through the cracks.

It doesn't exactly mean that. Most of the articles that attempt to explain what it does mean aren't (to me) very clear, but this one was pretty good.

Your basic argument holds regardless.

If your experience with 2nd Pfizer is like mine, you'll be fine tomorrow. Fingers crossed!

More about that article

https://twitter.com/zeynep/status/1385707216280375298?s=21&fbclid=IwAR2kz0SYEqlCiBsui_HLhp2hAqHMKglZdvd_80tH3wPd0hdvJCXbDg2Vsik

This is why it is important to provide links, so that one can see the arguments being made (or mis-made) and discuss them.

Regarding outdoor mask usage, I recommend this thread by Muge Cevic who's a renowned expert in the field - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCge_%C3%87evik

https://twitter.com/mugecevik/status/1348771251758784517

Also of note - the measles vax is 97% effective. It came out in 1963.

Measles is a different beast, though, as although it mutates, it seems incapable of doing so sufficiently to evade the immunity generated by vaccination, even half a century later.

This coronavirus (and others), are probably more like influenza, where we regularly need updated vaccines.

For those interested, there’s a very informative Twitter thread here:
https://twitter.com/jbloom_lab/status/1385664864765444098

It doesn't exactly mean that.

Oops. Yeah, I shouldn’t play with statistics.

Likewise, I’m not an epidemiologist. CDC says keep masking after vax, then I’m gonna do that. Because they actually know what they’re talking about.

We could probably get to herd immunity this year if folks would work the freaking program. Then *everybody* gets to not wear a mask, and nobody has to worry about whether the person not wearing a mask is vaxed or is just an irresponsible jerk.

Won’t that be great?

It’s not that big of an ask, and it helps other people. I am at most mildly inconvenienced, if that. It’s not all about me and what I want to do.

So I wear the freaking mask.

GftNC, it wouldn't be the least bit polite to walk in the bar on the corner with my mask on. It wouldn't be kind or good manners. There would be 40 or 50 people wondering if I was sick. None of them would have masks on.

Wow, this is pretty shocking. Did you say you were now in Florida? How many of those 40 or 50 would you estimate are so relaxed because (like you) they have been vaccinated, and how many because they are the kinds of people who have refused to wear a mask from the beginning, and think covid is a hoax? I realise you will have to guess, but I would still be interested in your opinion.

If you're right (in your supposition above) that they would think a mask meant you were sick, I guess it's clear they are pretty ignorant about the whole thing, which figures.

GftNC -- I may have mentioned this before, but many years ago I had a friend and colleague who had a bone marrow transplant as treatment for leukemia. She went through utter hell -- three months in a bubble and horrible pain and other difficulties, triggering more treatments, because of graft vs host problems.

But then lo and behold, she was well enough to be out in the world again -- only she had to wear a mask for a year, until her immune system slowly built itself back up again.

A not insignificant number of people in public were unpleasant to her, because they thought she was sick, and exposing them to something.

Too many people are ignorant (which is in theory curable), stupid, and cruel (which are apparently not).

i'm starting to like my mask. i feel naked without it. plus, not a single cold since fall of 2019.

A not insignificant number of people in public were unpleasant to her, because they thought she was sick, and exposing them to something.

I was aware of this kind of response in the past, but in my comment to Marty I was really talking about this response in the context of the current pandemic.

Too many people are ignorant (which is in theory curable), stupid, and cruel (which are apparently not).

Very true, unfortunately.

I go maskless outdoors unless I’m likely to be near someone outside my household. When I walk out of my office building, my mask comes off almost immediately unless I happen to be walking out with one of the few other people who are still coming into the office. It’s not remotely like a crowded downtown environment. There might be one or two people walking by across the street headed to the parking garage nearby.

Even walking past someone on the sidewalk is very, very low risk. The idea that enough virus to infect will get out of one person and into another in the few seconds they are within a few feet of each other outdoors is kind of crazy. It’s a physical process, not magic. But I would either put my mask on or go way out of my way to stay very far from anyone else if only to make another feel safe. There is really no such thing as a crowded outdoor environment in my life these days.

It’s not that big of an ask, and it helps other people.

Cleek's Law holds. It matters who's asking. The people perceived as doing the asking must be thwarted at all costs, even unto the death of the neighbors.

*****

Side note: at BJ they've talked now and again about the thin blue line flag, among others. Yesterday I was driving around the back back back roads of central Maine and took a "wrong" turn (i.e. not the one I meant to take, but I don't generally mind that) down one of those roads where Clickbait/Pence signs are not uncommon even now, and saw a flag with stars on a black field, and black and white stripes, except for one blue stripe (thin blue line), one red, and one green in place of the three bottom black stripes. Apparently the red and green are for firefighters and the military.

Ugly as shit, in more ways than one. And I say that as the daughter of a firefighter and veteran who would have been appalled.

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