Our family’s visit to a Virginia restaurant the other day wasn’t particularly unusual in the coronavirus era, although that state’s requirements are more stringent than most. The staff were all wearing masks and, in this case, plastic gloves as well. The iced tea bin was behind the counter where customers couldn’t touch it, and Virginia restaurants are apparently required to give customers a new plastic cup for every refill. (Somehow, the left went from banning plastic straws to probably tripling the amount of plastic waste generated by restaurants but hey, there could be a .000001% less chance of someone possibly catching the WORSTEST VIRUS EVER, so screw the environment, right?)
Anyway, I won't name the restaurant, but it was one of those places where you walk in, place your order, get your drinks, pay, then sit down and wait for your food to come up at the counter, at which point they call your order number. Of course, you had to shout through the giant plexiglass screen, then bend your head just to hear the muffled voice of the cashier, who was asking questions and punching buttons with one ungloved finger on an otherwise gloved hand. From the stains as well as the home-cut finger opening (so he could push the buttons), it was obvious he hadn't changed his gloves in quite some time, and certainly not for the two customers in line before us.
Even more disturbingly, as he spoke to us the cashier adjusted his obviously moist, stained mask with his gloved hand at least five times, at one point putting his thumb and forefinger across his entire mouth and moving the mask farther up the bridge of his nose. Thank God we were ‘spared’ any potential ‘droplets’ from his nose (because we all know how those nose droplets barrel through plexiglass), but it did come at the cost of spreading whatever nastiness was on his mask to pretty much everything else he touched.
We placed our order, paid with a credit card, then then watched the cashier grab our cups from the stack and proceed to put his gloved fingers inside (INSIDE, I kid you not) three of them at once as he made his way to the ice maker and tea bin to get our drinks (COVID restrictions in Virginia apparently do not allow us to get our own tea … you know, for ‘safety’).
Now the last thing I’m trying to do is bash hard-working restaurant employees. I’ve been one myself and I know how hard and thankless the work is. I won’t go into any more detail on the incident above, but suffice it to say I wouldn’t have dreamed of being rude to him. What I am trying to point out, however, is how supposedly well-meaning COVID restrictions - and even restaurants trying to 'help' by going above and beyond, as the gloves seemed to be - have turned our reality into a place where the 'letter of the law' (or mandate) is more important than common sense or actual results.
Indeed, if you had told me in 2019 that there would come a day when virtually the entire world would seriously believe there are absolutely no negatives to wearing a moist, bacteria-laden germ-collector on one’s face and breathing through it all day, I wouldn’t have believed it. Yet, here we are, where even the esteemed head of the Center for Disease Control is telling people with a straight face that masks - yes masks - are MORE protective than a vaccine. At this point, face burqas have become more than simply a talisman to encourage the public to venture out and engage the economy - they have become a religious cult. Dare to question it in any way, and they’ll shut you down - or attempt to - and they typically won’t even bother to try to respond to any of the points you make.
Take last week, for example, when I attempted to post that amazing mask article by Daniel Horowitz I mentioned in last week’s post on my own humble personal Facebook page. (I typically don’t plug this page, but lately I’ve gotten in the habit of posting some great clips and COVID-related news items there, so you’re welcome to visit and follow it if you like.) After a few days, the “fact-checker” bot discovered and flagged the post as “partly false information.” Why, you ask? Because Big Tech has apparently deemed fit to decide that this is “settled science,” or something. “Masks work,” don’t you know, and that’s all there is to it. To ‘refute’ the post, Facebook oddly linked to an article written by healthfeedback.org in May responding to an entirely different anti-mask post. It goes through the usual ridiculous model-based “studies” to ‘prove’ that mask-wearing ‘works,’ but then it also notably says this:
“The post is correct in stating that improper handling of face masks or cloth coverings creates a risk for infection, as infectious droplets may potentially contaminate the external and internal surfaces. However, this is far from an insurmountable obstacle, as this risk can be minimized by exercising caution when removing the mask. The CDC has advised that individuals should wash their hands and avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth after removing their mask, and that cloth masks should be regularly washed.”
Now let’s put aside the other arguments, many if not most of which I have covered in past posts, and just get real for a second with some gold old-fashioned common sense. Does anyone sincerely think that most of the public, who are non-medical professionals, handle masks correctly? Just take a look at the masks on most restaurant employees or even people you pass in the street. People are constantly touching them and they’re often visibly dirty, which suggests they aren’t being laundered daily or even regularly. Most people I know carry them around in their cars, in and out of their pockets, and leave them lying around wherever with little regard for the biohazards they are. Instead of potentially dangerous droplets falling to the ground where they’ve fallen for the entirety of human history, we’ve chosen to catch them in one ‘convenient’ place so they can then be distributed to surfaces humans touch on a regular basis.
In other words, even IF correctly used masking worked to stop the spread of coronavirus in theory - a goal I’m not even sure we should have in the first place (as long as hospitals aren’t overwhelmed) - the practice and subsequent real-world results are an entirely different thing. This could be why in place after place that has instituted mandatory masking, from California to Israel to Peru to Columbia to India to countless others, the virus continues to spread unabated and seemingly even faster than in non-masked places, only finishing when it runs its course at 15 to 25 percent seroprevalence.
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