Please drop the culture-war resistance and wear one

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Via WaPo, the supposed war over masks is overstated. Read this if you missed it a few days ago for the latest numbers, and remember that even you-know-who donned one (temporarily) during his visit to the Ford plant in Michigan this week. Two-thirds of Republicans say they’re wearing masks “most of the time” when they’re around other people.

But that one-third that’s holding out, they’re, uh…

They’re something.

The strongest argument against mask-wearing is that there’s no hard proof that they reduce transmission, although (a) there’s plenty of evidence pointing that way and (b) it’s a minimal imposition with a potentially outsized impact on slowing down the epidemic. But the culture-war objections don’t waste much time reckoning with efficacy. They range from grumbling about “showing weakness” to half-baked theories about business owners violating people’s rights by demanding that they be worn on the premises.

In extreme cases, defiance can turn nihilistic and toxic — literally:

Speaking of nihilism, although many businesses now have a “no shirt, no shoes, no mask, no service” policy, a select few go the other way. Their policy is “no masks allowed”:

In the last few weeks a spate of American stores have made headlines after putting up signs telling customers who wear masks they will be denied entry. On Thursday, Vice reported on a Kentucky convenience store that put up a sign reading: “NO Face Masks allowed in store. Lower your mask or go somewhere else. Stop listening to [Kentucky governor Andy] Beshear, he’s a dumbass.”

Another sign was posted by a Californian construction store earlier this month encouraging hugs but not masks. In Illinois, a gas station employee who put up a similar sign has since defended herself, arguing that mask-wearing made it hard to differentiate between adults and children when selling booze and cigarettes.

As far as I’m aware, there’s no major politician in either party who’s anti-mask. Trump doesn’t want to wear one in public but he’s not discouraging others from doing so. Mitch McConnell has been seen wearing a mask recently, as has Ted Cruz. Ivanka Trump wore one while touring a food distribution facility in Maryland a few weeks back. To the extent that people in a position of influence are urging others to abandon masks, it’s local officials. And even they’re rare, I’d guess. Although they do exist:

Here’s North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, pleading with the holdouts to do the right thing in a speech yesterday. Also yesterday, the CDC estimated that 40 percent of coronavirus transmissions are happening before an infected person develops symptoms, when they have no clue that they might be spreading the virus. The agency’s best guess is that fully a third of all infected people are asymptomatic.





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