Friend of mine in Iowa is a home healthcare nurse. She was telling me recently the state is being slammed with the trifecta of covid, RSV, and influenza with case numbers sharply on the rise.
“And not just those but rotavirus and norovirus too,” she added. “Covid just weakened us up for this.”
That’s true enough. I have a cousin who complains to me about catching covid over and over. She’s personally up to five times being stricken with it herself. She’s got eye and heart issues now as a result, but she still won’t get vaccinated because “that’s poison”. As if being disabled in her early 50s is a preferred outcome. But, she was raised to believe in literal magic, so she was fertile ground for the conspiracy theories her daughter filled her head with.
All the research says wearing a mask cuts your risk of getting infected in the first place. The better the mask, the less the risk. She wouldn’t need necessarily to get vaxxed, but she’s addicted to shopping and going to bars and wineries. Vaccination and masking would make these hobbies of hers less risky but she’d rather get sick and then brag about how tough she is after she’s recovered.
It’s worth noting that each recovery has been twice as long as the last one.
I started masking in April of 2020 and except for a brief week during our federal election last summer, I haven’t stopped masking in public spaces. I am seldom the only one but there aren’t many maskers anymore.
People I know generally don’t mask out and about even though they tell me they are tired of getting sick, and they know masking would alleviate this issue.
The real reason people won’t mask is the same reason everyone wore the same brand name shoes or jacket when they were kids. Peer pressure. We never outgrow the need to fit in. Even if it’s harmful to us. People experience almost acute discomfort if they are perceived as different and they are quite susceptible to subtle, and not so, negative feed back. Even from strangers.
I don’t care much for negative feedback but very often over the course of my life, negative feedback has had the opposite of its intended affect on me. It makes me dig in and fight back. Passive aggressively for the most part. I don’t go to the mattresses for no very good reason. But I won’t knuckle under if I know I am right. And on masks, I know I am right.
Masking, along with good air filtration and ventilation of indoor spaces plus distancing would very likely cut viral spread of airborne diseases. Throw in some basic hand and surface washing and we could be golden right now. I am afraid, however, we are going to watch a lot of children needlessly suffer, and perhaps die, instead.
This is on us for buckling and giving into our fragile feels when we needed to be a whole hell of a lot stronger.