Was she a mask Nazi, or a masked Nazi? She was both. Here’s the story.
I was hiking alone in the Colorado Rockies. I encountered a woman rounding a bend in the trail who muttered something to me as we passed one another. I said, “Excuse me?”
She unloaded on me with a tirade of unprintable curses and uncompromising demands that I wear a mask, like hers. So worked up was she that the microdroplets expectorated straight through her mask at approximately 3,400 mph.
Colorado still does not require masks for solitary activities like showering (I sincerely hope not to encounter her there) and hiking alone in the woods. Apparently, she personally has a different rule and she insists that everyone else follow it.
Her blitzkrieg shocked and awed me but I had the presence of mind – and I can say without undue boast, the considerable courage – to suggest that if she didn’t want to encounter perfectly legal unmasked people hiking alone in the woods then maybe she should not hike on a popular trail. After all, there are thousands of Colorado trails where you won’t see a person for days.
To that, she shouted “moron.”
I found that reasoning unpersuasive in substance, style and volume. Notwithstanding, I replied that she seemed like a very classy person. I think my sarcasm was perceptible, even to her. I like to think I defeated her but it was not my finest hour.
We then went our separate ways. I doubt we’ll exchange Christmas cards. What about me attracts such people? I wasn’t even wearing my MAGA hat.
The COVID experts disagree on mask-wearing, as they disagree on so many other things. Initially, the Surgeon General told us not to wear masks because they did more harm than good.
As it turned out, he was lying, or at least he intended to be lying. Now he says we should wear masks after all.
The reason the Surgeon General intended to lie initially was because he wanted to save the masks for health care workers. He could have just told us, “Masks are good. But, hey, don’t go out and hoard them the way you did toilet paper. Because health care workers need some.”
Instead he lied. Because that’s what government does when it can.
Here’s where it gets complicated. Although the Surgeon General intended to lie, maybe he accidentally didn’t. Other experts continue to say we should not wear masks.
You ask, who?
You ask, what’s WHO?
Much as I’m tempted to answer, “WHO’s on first base,” the real answer is WHO is the World Health Organization. WHO is who helped the Chinese conceal and nurture the virus into a pandemic monster.
WHO is headed by an Ethiopian doctor. Because that’s where they have the best doctors, said nobody ever.
But this Ethiopian “doctor” (he actually has a Ph.D. not a M.D.) is in pretty good company this time. An article last week in the New England Journal of Medicine, which gets things right more often than not, said masks are unnecessary outside a clinical setting.
How many times will the COVID experts be inconsistent, lying or wrong, or otherwise inexpert, before we stop calling them experts?
COVID masks are interesting from a societal and psychological perspective. They’re of course highly visible and obtrusive but that’s a feature, not a flaw. They may not prevent the transmission of disease but, more importantly, they serve to communicate to the world, loudly and without nuance, that the wearer is a good person.
In other words, masks are the latest in virtue signaling. If I ever see a middle-aged lady wearing a mask while driving a Toyota Prius hybrid with a C-O-E-X-I-S-T bumper sticker, I’ll hurl.
Alas, I didn’t have all this cleverness on hand or on the tip of my unmasked tongue on the trail the other day when I had my close encounter of the turd kind with the mask(ed) Nazi.
Next time I see her, I’ll be ready. But I suppose by now she and her ilk are in Poland, where any survivors of their invasion will be sent to concentration camps as slave labor to make masks. While wearing, of course, masks.
If wearing a mask is “virtue signalling” for some people, then not wearing one is “macho signaling” for others, and I suspect that has something to do with 55% of deaths from the Wuhan virus being men.
Wearing a mask also correlates with being politically liberal, particularly because of the high level of infection in crowded mega-cities (a.k.a., human anthills) that are politically liberal.
But I agree that wearing a mask when you are outdoors and not in a crowd is being overly cautious, and that berating other people who are in uncrowded outdoor locations without wearing them is stupid and offensive, probably qualifying the person to be a member of the Antifa movement.
Overly cautious? How about idiotic and unnecessary? Strapping an increasingly-dirty face-diaper on as a way of saying one is “down for the struggle” is absurd. They’re a trap for bacteria AND viruses, restrict breathing and increasing body CO2 levels – for no reason. Coronaviruses, which can only be viewed with an electron microscope, are far too small to be stopped by anything but a sealed N95 or N99 mask, each of which require specialized training to use properly and must be changed 5-6 times per day. The pathetic fabric nappie people strap to their faces are 100% useless, stopping less than 2% of viruses coming or going. Research regarding the effectiveness of non-sealed fabric masks at limiting the spread of possibly infected droplets is inconclusive, but is not promising.
Those who would criticize or otherwise confront those of us who choose to NOT wear masks we believe to be useless and detrimental to ones health need to keep a couple of things in mind:
1. My rights don’t end where your fear begins
2. If you have to signal your virtue, you have none.
And your qualifications for judging the effectiveness of face masks are ????
While not all masks are equally effective, most do prevent the transmission of particles of moisture/ saliva that are carriers of infectious agents. That is why healthcare professionals and first responders wear them when in close contact with others — both for their own protection and that of others. It is consistent with training that I received as an Army officer in protecting against attacks with biological agents.
And one of your “rights” is not to spread disease to others.
The WHO on Thursday 5/28 issued a statement saying only those who are ill or who are administering to the ill should wear a mask. And in outside activities a mask is not doing anything but causing one to rebreathe their own carbon dioxide.
I live in the mountains of northern New Mexico. Very rural. Lots of trails, etc. Most people visiting from Santa Fe, Albuquerque, etc. and “congregating” are not social distancing nor wearing masks. But, drive into those cities and villages and NOT wear a mask and you’ll meet a mask(ed) nazi.
The most unusual of the mask(ed) nazis are those masked idiots: riding bicycles in wide open spaces, riding a horse on a mountain trail at 10,000, walking their dog(s) … not on leashes … and fishing in the middle of a river. Oh, I could cite many more instances of this foolishness … but you get the picture.
Good commentary by Glenn!
wow. can’t people be civil even for a minute?
I basically agree with the NEJM article, but you should note it’s the equivalent of an op-Ed in the newspaper. It’s not original research, a literature review, or anyone’s official position statement.
Masks probably would slow the spread in a community setting, a little. Masks outside are just stupid unless it’s a mass (mask?) gathering at close quarters.
There’s no stopping it. Herd immunity is the only way out.
There is absolutely no data yet on the key issue: the effective infectious dose. Without knowing what the dose is, we can never learn whether any kind of mask, say in a grocery store, is going to do any good. And learning what that EID is will be very hard, because there is no good treatment for CV19 and we can’t ethically infect people to see what dose produces what level of sickness.
Mask policy outside of healthcare settings is guesswork.
The stupidity of all discussions about infection that ignore the issue of dose is appalling. Dose matters in all infections. The larger the viral dose, the worse the infection; the smaller the dose, the less sick the patient will be. As one infection specialist said to me yesterday:
“A little bit of salmonella in peanut butter is unlikely to hurt you; a lot will make you quite ill. If dose did not matter, we would all be dead already–because we are exposed to potentially lethal pathogens constantly.”
The hysterics who confront people out of doors are (1) self-indulgent garbage people living with a pre-scientific worldview–they think diseases spread by magic and dose does not matter.
By law, all masks should spell MAGA across the front. Then what will they do?
I actually bought our first package of masks at Staples a few days ago…came home and the bag has a weird export sticker showing the Chinese town of origin. They stuck it to us in Wuhan and now they’re ripe to profit from same. Are any of these masks NOT made in China? I was going to return them and make a fuss but now we need to wear masks at our newly re-opened church!
Glenn, The sheer majesty of the Maroon Bells parallels the sheer stupidity of the residents of Aspen….minus 0ne! Keep wielding that pen! P
Masks are beginning to take their place alongside baseball hats worn backwards — as automatic I.Q. reducers.
This is really a brilliant analysis, with some deserved sarcasm, of a subject, one which has been altering the family here, but with which I agree in more ways than one. Do not give up the hypocrisy of this mask part of the lib/lefty/”progressive”/Democrat general Chinese Communist Party/Whuhan, Chine coronovirus?!!! Please!!!
Another great article. Wondering why you don’t call it Wuhan virus?
The Ethiopian head of WHO is not a medical doctor
Correct, he’s not a medical doctor. But he has a Ph.D. in something called “Community Health” and I’m sure that on that basis he refers to himself as “Doctor.”
Why can’t leftists be civil? Always looking for a reason to get angry.
We’re driving up to Colorado in a few weeks. That “lady” had better hope she doesn’t lecture me for not wearing a mask while outside.
Many people in China wore masks even before the crisis because the air is so bad in China. It didn’t help much there did it?
Try riding a bike without a helmet if you want to fire up the outrage junkies. My suggestion: carry pepper spray, use it ‘liberally’
Interestingly, helmets have been shown to be almost useless, much like facemasks. They may offer peace of mind, but not much protection. But, hey, let me not admit impediments to virtue signaling and outrage.
umm, agree on the mask but having crashed hard a few times, I’m glad my head doesn’t look like my helmets….
You are my new favorite author.
Thank you for doing what you could at the time to stand to the threat. It may help to recall, as you know, that whatever a Leftie or Moslem accuses one of doing/being, that is what they are doing/being.
Most health care professionals do recommend that masks should be worn when you can’t be at least six feet apart from another person, in order to prevent or at least reduce the chances of spreadIng Covid 19. But regardless of that, if you’re on a narrow trail, what’s the big deal about keeping a mask or bandanna below your chin, ready to pull up, in case you see someone coming? I don’t want to debate this, but wether you believe it’s effective or not, it’s just as easy to put other people at ease and be courteous as it is to freak people out; so why not take the extra step to be considerate of other people’s feelings even if you think you’re right? We all have to get through this together.
Health care professionals are subject to group-think and group pressure like everyone else, and we are seeing that during this panic. There is no evidence that the virus particles can stay suspended in the open air, in a large enough clump, to infect someone. In fact, it would violate all the known laws of physics to believe that these tiny particles could hang suspended in the air and not be blown away or diluted with every breeze the way pollen is. Infection is dose-specific. But in this panic we are acting as if this virus has magical properties unknown to science: it hangs in the air ready to infect, a single particle is enough to infect you, all infections are fatal. None of that is true. Wearing a mask in the open air to protect yourself is like putting up a chain link fence to keep mosquitoes out of your backyard, all the while a 40-mile-per-hour wind is blowing.
Thhanks for sharing this