How to Make the Covid War Go Away
Public Health Orders divide the Mask/No Mask and the Vaccinate/Unvaccinated crowds, but it doesn't have to be that way
September 30, 2021
September 24, 2021 - Garth Brooks just canceled all of his big concerts, citing public health concerns regarding Covid-19. Synagogues required proof of vaccination or negative Covid tests for attendance at High Holiday services this month. All over the region, events are getting canceled or moving online.
When the Covid vaccines became available late in 2020, many hoped they could return to their normal lives. The vaccine was supposed to be safe and incredibly effective. Those who were vaccinated should have felt secure in navigating a world full of Covid-infected individuals with equanimity.
Instead, all over the country and certainly here in Los Angeles County, Covid case numbers are publicized with alarm, and public health officials are reimposing masking and introducing vaccine mandates. Private organizations, schools, churches, and families fight bitterly over the pros and cons of the various measures that should be foisted on the public. Is safety more important than personal liberty? Or the other way around?
The debate is frankly unnecessary. Both safety and personal liberty are achievable for each crowd. The answer is for those who want all possible safety from the virus to protect themselves instead of asking others to protect them. Taking personal accountability for one's health is as much a necessity as a right.
N95 masks, certified by the US Government, block 95% of 0.3 micron particles. Even though the coronavirus is about 0.1 micron, they are usually attached to something larger, like the sort of droplets that are generated by breathing and talking. The K95 masks are not as expensive because they are not certified in the same way, but they have many of the same protective properties as the certified N95. They will most probably do the job.
Any individual who fears catching Covid from others should buy and wear an N95 or KN95 mask, depending on his risk assessment of the difference between the two. Once that mask is on, there should be no discussion or inquiry as to the masked or unmasked, vaccinated or unvaccinated status of the people around this fearful individual. He is protected as well as anyone can be protected under any circumstances. It doesn't get any better than that. And no, other people do not also need to be wearing N95 masks as well. That is an outrageous request given the protective properties of the mask.
At the beginning of the pandemic, it might have been legitimate to say that N95 masks should be saved for the frontline health workers. But we have had plenty of time to ramp up production of this protective gear. In the interest of allowing normal activity, in the interest of halting the completely unnecessarily vitriol and anger between the fearful and the reasonable, we should be concentrating our resources on producing this protective gear. There is no more reasonable and effective way to halt the spread of the disease, at least among those who fear contracting it.
Vaccines haven't worked. For some reason, many vaccinated individuals still fear contracting Covid and still fear the effects of Covid even though data shows they will almost certainly not experience serious disease. So let them put on a damn N95 mask. Let them pay for it - they aren't even that expensive, around $2 each. KN95s can be found for 60 cents each.
It is time for those who want to save themselves to do the saving themselves and leave everyone else alone.