The mask paradox

Anyone familiar with Alice in Wonderland remembers the Mad Hatter's tea party, where he told Alice that there was always jam yesterday and jam tomorrow but never jam today.  Looking at a sampling of recent headlines, I know just how bewildered Alice felt.

I find headlines proclaiming that patience is wearing thin with the unvaccinated and that the vaccine is safe for children and pregnant women.  The CDC claims that the vaccines work and that people should continue to wear masks.  Although the vaccine is being given to children and it's supposed to be safe and effective, the CDC is still recommending masks in schools.  

What is one to make of all this?  Is the vaccine working or isn't it?  If the vaccine is working, why are masks still being required in so many places across the country?  If people are so confident in the vaccine, why are fully vaccinated people still cowering behind masks?  For that matter, why are masks considered protective in the first place?

There's a real cognitive dissonance when people have more confidence in a thin piece of cloth than in modern medicine.  Or maybe not.  When Donald Trump created Operation Warp Speed to develop a vaccine for COVID, many in the government and mainstream media declared they would never trust a vaccine from Trump.  When Biden assumed office, he also assumed responsibility for the vaccine, which was suddenly and miraculously safe and effective.  Meanwhile, people had been indoctrinated from news reports, billboards, and mainstream media with the idea that the only way to avoid dying from COVID was to have a piece of cloth handy.  Apparently, the cloth works whether it covers the mouth and nose, covers just the mouth, or dangles from the ear or hangs under the chin.  It also seems to work better if everyone agrees that it will protect against disease. 

I choose to imitate Alice and walk away from it all.  I'll wear a mask if I have to in order to collect my paycheck or see the doctor, but I'm not going to embrace a fervent belief in masks like a child chanting, "I do believe in fairies!" so Tinkerbell will live.  I don't mind getting a non-mRNA vaccine, but I'm not going to act as though it's a holy sacrament and brag about getting a shot.  I'm leaving the Mad Hatters to their tea party and sticking with sanity.

Pandra Selivanov is the author of The Pardon, a story of forgiveness based on the thief on the cross in the Bible.

Image: Pixabay.

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