Mask Mandates: Last Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for everyone over the age of 2 to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: Mask Mandates
To mask or not to mask? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer… Well, whatever. You get the point. “Two months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said vaccinated individuals didn’t need to wear masks in most settings, a growing number of experts are warning it’s time to put them back on,” Dan Diamond reports for the Washington Post. “First, there was Los Angeles County, where the rising menace posed by the delta variant of the coronavirus prompted health officials to reimpose a mask mandate. Then, Bay Area health officers on Friday recommended that residents of seven counties and the city of Berkeley, Calif., resume wearing masks indoors. Mask mandates are being discussed, too, in coronavirus hot spots such as Arkansas and Missouri, where cases have sharply increased in recent weeks and many residents remain unvaccinated.” There’s some discord, however. For example, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a briefing last week that, while her agency is always reviewing the data, the recommendations haven’t changed. However, last Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics called for everyone over the age of 2 to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. Here’s what both sides are saying about the reimposition of mask mandates.
On The Left
Left-leaning commentators and outlets generally favor reintroducing mask mandates. They worry about the Delta variant and note that vaccines are not a silver bullet. There’s turbulence ahead, one author notes, and we need to fasten our “facial seatbelts.”
“4 Reasons I’m Wearing a Mask Again” Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic: “After a prolonged lull, the pandemic’s outlook is grimmer than it’s been in months. I am, for the foreseeable future, back to wearing masks in indoor public places, and there are four big reasons why. … 1. … no vaccine is perfect. Some immunized people will end up infected with the virus; a small subset of this group will fall ill, occasionally severely so. … 2. I don’t want people around me to get COVID-19. … 3. I trust the vaccines, but I understand their limits. … 4. Wearing an accessory on my head doesn’t feel like a huge cost to me. … Vaccines have sometimes been billed as an option to supplant the nuisance of masks. But making that trade-off at an individual level feels overly simplistic in a population where so many people are neither immune nor covered up. I also didn’t get vaccinated because I wanted to stop masking. I got vaccinated because I wanted to reduce my chances of getting sick with this virus and transmitting it to others. Masking is a complementary means to the same end. My return to it isn’t an indictment of vaccination. It’s an insurance policy.”
“Put your masks on, we are about to hit some turbulence” Dr. Comilla Sasson, CNN: “When the pilot comes on the speakers and says, ‘time to get back in your seats and put your seat belt on,’ we (most of us at least), find our seats, put on our seatbelts, and brace ourselves for a rocky ride. When we put our seatbelts on … Do we question the credibility, reliability, or intentions of our flight crew? Nope. We understand that things can change quickly, and we must adjust to the conditions. … Well, COVID-19 is the biggest, scariest pandemic plane ride, and the entire world is currently on it together. … Vaccines came out and are ridiculously effective in preventing people from becoming hospitalized as a result of COVID-19. … But the vaccines are not a silver bullet. … So, here we are. The healthcare and public health professionals are bracing ourselves for a rocky journey, and we need people to help us by sitting down and putting their proverbial ‘seat belt’ (namely, masks) back on. … We can’t predict the future and how the conditions may change. I just ask that you give us grace, space, and patience as we try to land this pandemic plane safely and smoothly.”
“Why face mask mandates for all should be back on the table” Peter Enns and Jake Rothschild, LA Times: “Are mask requirements again necessary in the US? Our research shows why the answer is yes in many places: The unvaccinated are least likely to wear masks. We could avoid mask mandates if everyone who is eligible gets vaccinated. … Until vaccination rates increase, it might seem that the simplest solution is to require those who are unvaccinated to wear masks. … Masks not only help prevent those infected from spreading the virus, they also offer protection to those wearing the mask. … Given mask resistance, a universal requirement may be the only effective approach. When everyone is required to wear a mask, businesses, government offices, and employers do not need to worry about vaccine verification and unvaccinated people cannot easily avoid masking.”
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators aren’t super excited about the potential of reimposing mask mandates. They question whether or not they worked in the first place. One author also wonders whether faceless expression, as a result of mask-wearing, is causing more polarization.
“Read my lips: We’re not going back to masks and lockdowns again” Karol Markowicz, New York Post: “Are we really doing this again? Are we really talking about returning to masking? Again? … The move is absurd in several ways. For starters, it throws shade on the vaccines. If vaccination works, why do the vaccinated need to be masked? … But beyond that, there’s the added question of whether mask mandates have made any difference in containing COVID. … In March, when Texas and Mississippi dropped their mask mandates, President Joe Biden criticized the moves as ‘neanderthal thinking’ and said it was too soon to stop wearing masks. The blue-check media predicted a COVID holocaust in these states. That didn’t happen. Case numbers collapsed in the months after the mandates ended. … So why do we keep returning to ineffective mitigation measures like masking in public spaces? It’s as if we have a mental block around the reality that masking like this is largely pointless.”
“Neurotic America: Masks Today, Masks Tomorrow, Masks Forever” Editorial Board, Issues and Insights: “The coronavirus pandemic revealed in stark terms a truth about this country that many of us have long suspected. We’ve grown soft, fearful, perpetually nagging, and paralyzed by safetyism. Our prosperity has allowed many of us to feed our eccentricities and disorders, taking us down dark alleys and through doors that lead to grand halls of odd behavior. … One would think that, given their popularity, masks would have been an effective prophylactic against the Chinese virus. But that’s not clear at all. … This chart, using federal and New York Times data, shows just how useless state mask mandates – as well as lockdowns – have been. … The ‘science’ crowd of course walks over any evidence that isn’t consistent with its agenda, same as it tramples the Constitution. Today is just another day in which the mindless Democrat-media mob of the left that has drilled fear into a society that was already losing its nerve continues to try to break this nation’s once-stiff spine.”
“Why Shutdowns and Masks Suit the Elite” Barton Swaim, Wall Street Journal Opinion: “Has a year of faceless interaction, mandated by government and monitored by authority figures and busybodies, exacerbated the sense of estrangement and annoyance many Americans feel toward each other? … The dispute over masks—like those over school closures, business shutdowns, social-distancing guidelines, and all the rest—should always properly have been a discussion of acceptable versus unacceptable risk. But the preponderance of America’s cultural and political leaders showed no ability to think about risk in a helpful way. The threat of infection overwhelmed every public discussion; every policy, no matter how draconian or impossible to enforce, was worth trying if it could, in theory, save one human life. But what is a human life? That was a question very few of our authorities cared to answer—or even ask.”
Flag This: Mask Mandates
Shortly after the CDC announced that vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask outdoors, a May Hill-HarrisX poll found that “a plurality (52%) of voters said they think that people in their area should continue to wear masks outdoors regardless of the guidelines.” More recently, a Gallup poll from June showed “68% of respondents said they wore a face mask outside their home in the past week, down from 79% in May,” Alison Durkee outlines for Forbes. “Though fewer Americans are social distancing and wearing masks, the Gallup poll also suggests people are remaining cautious as they stop isolating. Only 59% say they’re ‘completely back to normal’ when it comes to socializing with their friends and family.”
Flag Poll: Mask Mandates
Do you support or oppose a reimposition of mask mandates at either a federal or state level? Comment below to share your thoughts.