About Face Masks/Social Distancing – a Way Too Long Facebook Response

I’m going to try a new system for creating content. I reply to a lot of Facebook posts. I spend more time than I care to share doing this. Yeah, I’m that guy.

I’m going to start sharing some of my replies as it:

  • Reinforces that I stand behind what I’m writing,
  • Forces me to research my facts,
  • Produces extra much needed content with little to no additional writing,
  • May lead to one additional person reading my thoughts (thanks Mom!)

Today I responded to a post:

  • If the masks work, then what are we social distancing?
  • If social distancing works, then why are we wearing masks?
  • If masks and social distancing work, then why are our businesses closed?
  • If we can stand in line at the grocery store, then why can’t we stand in line to vote?
  • Because it’s not about the virus it never was.

It’s all about lowering your risk to being exposed.

Face coverings work to a certain extent, and are recommend by the CDC especially in areas where social distancing may be difficult. It also lowers the amount that you may inhale / exhale from nearby surroundings. IE a place where someone had been standing/breathing or touching. There are limits to this, as a non n95 still leaves gaps from your face that air will escape/enter in to.

Social distancing works to a certain extent because unless people are sneezing/coughing, you are less likely to transfer the virus to one another. You can still inhale/exhale to the air/surfaces around you, so there are limits to how effective this is.

It should be said there is a lot they don’t know about the virus. They are literally learning as they go. These two steps are to limit exposure, and are not silver bullets. In reality, the only way to not contract this near 100% is to never leave your house, and never allow anything enter., Asking people to do that is like teaching abstinence as safe sex to prevent pregnancy/STDs, and we know how well that goes.

Why are businesses closed? Because even if people followed both of the above (which they won’t), there is no way to reduce risk 100%. For some they feel that’s totally ok, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what’s best for people. I would argue government placed bans/restrictions are attempting to do what’s best for their constituents based on CDC recommendations.

Personal opinion: It’s not likely a good time to have most businesses 100% open right now. If employees, and customers don’t feel comfortable working, or buying from you then the laws/rules can give people/businesses the ability to lean on insurance/grants/other programs. 100% open without 100% customers mean you likely lose money. I really feel we should be doing more to get money to people/small businesses, but I don’t make the rules.

Regarding voting vs grocery stores, we are kind of letting grocery stores off the hook, and really should force more of a pick up system. My wife and I have entered a grocery store 4 times in the last 2+ months. Pick n Save pickup has been fantastic, and I recommend it. It not only saves time but reduces everyone’s exposure.

Why is it more OK for grocery stores vs voting? People gotta eat, and the voting issues could have easily been solved: more time/support for absentee based voting. My wife and I voted absentee and it was great. We didn’t get stickers, but that’s life. If given the option, I think we will do that going forward. I loved getting the time to go over my ballot and research rhe candidates as I fill it out. I normally fill out a crib sheet, but having the ballot next to me was awesome.

The absentee system in Wisconsin had never been stressed so much, and there were tons of issues. If we had delayed and worked through those, we could’ve prevented more people from voting in person, or allowed people who didn’t vote, a chance to.

Before you say it didn’t prevent people, it absolutely did. My parents didn’t vote for the first time in like 10 years. My mom has had breast cancer, and other health issues over the past 25 years, and didn’t feel comfortable going to vote. They misunderstood absentee, and thought they had an extension. I’m sure they weren’t the only ones. To me, the circumstances called for an extension of absentee to correct the issues they encountered and get as many as possible on the system.

One last thing on face coverings/masks. My wife and I went to Japan in February 19 for our honeymoon. We routinely ran in to people with masks on. It wasn’t the majority, but I bet 1-2/10 had a mask on. It was a little off putting at first. In my mind I thought: I’m not going to get you sick. Seriously?

I did some research and learned what they had gone through with SARS a few years prior. Apparently people still wore masks, but mostly when they were fearful they might get others sick. The thought process is as follows:

There are no pandemics or immediate threats, but they might have a slightly runny nose, cough or just feel not 100%. Since people still needed to go about their daily lives, which involved being in close proximity to others , so they worse masks in an effort to prevent others from getting sick. In their culture, it’s considered respectful, and not weird at all. I totally get that, and started to really appreciate it.

That’s how I’m looking at our current situation. I don’t wear a mask when working around my house. I do wear a mask when I go to a store/restaurant or anywhere I’m going to be in close proximity to someone. I do not feel sick, but I do it as a sign of respect, and to lower my chances of passing on something I do not know I have. It’s not that much effort, and I feel the people making my food, or picking out my groceries deserve that.