Refusing to Wear a Mask

People who refuse to wear masks are weird. There are a lot of things you could protest, but protesting masks —a precautionary measure you can use to stop the spread of COVID-19 — seems dumb.

The science on masks isn’t accurate. Maybe they work, maybe they don’t. But like driving on a highway at a hundred miles an hour, it’s just common sense that the slower you go, your chances of crashing decrease.

Not wearing masks then — its almost like rebelling for the sake of rebelling. Which makes you think that maybe if the state governments and scientists stopped talking about masks, people might be inclined to wear them just because.

But maybe that’s asking too much these days. In a society where everyone seems out for themselves, and there is a distrust of authority, of news media, of science — some of which, I get, is totally justified — masks are a tough sell.

The way I see it, if you’re out in the sticks, it’s obviously not essential to have a mask on. I see people around my neighborhood, they’re five hundred feet away from me, and anything else resembling actual life, and they’ve got a mask on. They look a little silly, but I can’t fault them for being precautious.

And then there's the people who won’t wear masks, period. They’re going on with their lives, willy nilly. They still think coronavirus is no worse than the flu, even though their fearless leader is on tape saying it’s worse than the flu. They don’t care, so why should we? Like smoking, if you want to get lung cancer — who the hell am I to tell you otherwise. Smoke your life away.

Which is sort of the direction things are headed. States with mask requirements, and states without. And just as it is with smoking, which poses a public health risk — albeit, over a much longer period of time — the states that have made it difficult to smoke, like New York, are going to be healthier. Maybe not now, but certainly in the end. And New York has done well with the virus — they were early on it, like most things — which you can’t say for the rest of the country.

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Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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