The powers that be are finally being honest about cloth masks
At a time when far too many people in the United States are behaving like clinically depressed lemmings following COVID mandates off a cliff, it's refreshing to see an admission that cloth masks are not very effective against COVID. It's true these admissions are coming with a recommendation to upgrade to heavy-duty masks, preferably with three layers, to protect us from omicron, but, personally, I find a ray of hope in the commentary swirling around the internet.
As time went on, information began to be gathered about COVID. There are only seven known coronaviruses that actually make people sick, and four of those are the viruses responsible for the common cold. The latest variant of COVID, omicron, is so mild that it barely rises to the status of a common cold. It's very infectious, but it's also a bit tricky telling if symptoms are caused by a cold or omicron.
The World Health Organization reports that it has not seen any deaths from omicron. Nevertheless, experts are urging people to start using medical-grade masks. People are sick to death of masks. At the beginning of the pandemic, we didn't know very much about COVID, and there was a willingness to mask up to prevent infection. As time went on, some even became addicted to their masks.
This was a troubling development, but most people had the sense to realize that wearing masks all the time is not mentally healthy, especially for children. Parents organized against masks, forming groups like Let Them Breathe, which advocates for getting rid of mask mandates.
Medical-grade masks might be appropriate for the immunocompromised. Such masks are certainly necessary for medical personnel in hospitals and clinics. They are not needed by the general population, who don't want to wear them anyway.
This is what I find hopeful. Mask fatigue has kicked in and is spreading more rapidly than omicron. Except for panicky people who are terrified at the thought of facing the world without a mask, it's not very likely that there will be a wholesale changeover to three-ply masks that restrict breathing even more than the face decorations we are now supposed to wear.
Pandra Selivanov is the author of Future Slave, a story about a 21st-century black teenager who goes back in time and becomes a slave in the Old South.
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