My city passed a mask ordinance last night after we had 5 straight days of COVID increases. I was listening to people complain about it’s very existence before it was passed and I couldn’t help but laugh. First, the misinformation was super high. Second, the people in my life screaming about masks infringing on their liberties the loudest are the exact same people who supported the Patriot Act which gave the US government the legal right to spy on American citizens in all forms (tap your phones? Yes. Track your internet use? Yes. Open your mail? Yes. Monitor your bank accounts? Yes. Allow the NSA to aim satellites at your house to pick up on conversations? Maybe. Oddly, it felt like the Patriot Act had been lifted from my brain and applied to the real world as the NSA does in fact monitor every moment of every SCTU members lives).
Here’s the thing, if wearing a surgical mask during a surgery helps prevent your germs from infecting your patient, it absolutely must help prevent your COVID germs from disseminating. Is it perfect? No. A HAZMAT suit would be perfect, which isn’t really practical for everyone in my city. But the masks help.
The argument that the government shouldn’t be able to dictate what you wear in public is ridiculous, they’ve been doing it for centuries. The difference is the fines for not wearing pants in public are a hell of a lot higher and will get you listed on the Sex Offender Registry for your state. I mean honestly, what’s the difference between being told if you don’t wear pants in public you’ll be arrested for indecent exposure than being told you must now wear a mask in public to protect public health? I mean, isn’t wearing pants meant to protect the public? By putting on pants, you are protecting public health… your anal excretions and germs must travel through at least one layer of cloth before it can infect the public seat you’ve sat on and expose someone else to your fecal matter. Furthermore by wearing pants, you are protecting children from seeing the naughty bits of adults not related to them.
As you can tell, I am all for the use of masks in public. So far, I’ve not heard a single argument that sways me into believing not wearing a mask is A) your right because the government shouldn’t dictate what you wear and B) that masks are completely useless against COVID (yes some masks work better than others, but just like wearing pants even a single layer of cloth does help prevent the expulsion of your germs into public spaces).
Furthermore, Spain is reporting only about 5% of those infected are developing antibodies to COVID and those are happening only in the extremely ill. If you were born before the varicella vaccine, you have an understanding of what that means. I had Chicken Pox multiple times. My first infection at 5 years old, wasn’t that bad and so, I got to go through it twice and the second time was much, much worse. Unlike Chicken Pox, COVID is still a brand new disease and we can only guess at the what it’s going to do and what that means for us as a species. Which brings us back to the part everyone scoffs at: The Death Toll – yes, it’s low. But the measles virus has been around thousands of years and it’s only been in the last 30 years that we’ve realized all the long term, permanent, horrible side effects possible from it from resetting the immune system to diseases already encountered such as chicken pox and whooping cough to damaging the immune system leaving the person just a step above immunocompromised.
I think what bothers me most, is the huge percentage that is asymptomatic. Right now, there is a virus on this planet that has a high asymptomatic rate and it causes cancer – the human papillomavirus. COVID has been around 9 months, we don’t know what the long term outlook for people infected with it is… we keep assuming it’s like influenza or the common cold (seasonal and without long term side effects), but that’s not the norm for viruses. Measles, viral pneumonia, HIV, HPV, pertussis, chicken pox, herpes, smallpox, monkeypox, rubella, ebola, Epstein-Barr, AIDS, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are all common viruses that cause long term serious damage to the body… even after a patient has “recovered”. Sometimes, even H1N1 (Influenza A aka Bird Flu, Swine Flu, Spanish Flu, etc) causes permanent damage to the body.
So, as the infection rate climbs and people recover do we have 8 million time bombs just waiting to develop cancer or some other complication that we won’t see for 5 or 10 or 15 years? Will we one day look back and think that the very small percentage of patients that dies immediately from COVID are the lucky ones? As I see it, it is better to never be infected. Because without a crystal ball and a glimpse at the future, we have no idea what COVID-19 means for humans in the long run. As of July 2020, we aren’t even 100% sure that COVID is actually a respiratory disease, there is mounting evidence to suggest that it might be vascular or perhaps it’s both respiratory and vascular, which could mean all those asymptomatic 20 year olds are starting to develop aortic aneurysms as I type and because they don’t know it, they’ll rupture them in their 30s or 40s or their heart valves are starting to degrade or in a year there will be a steep increase in deaths caused by blood clots, especially in women, because 30 something year old women are already at higher risk for blood clots if they are on birth control.
As of today, I feel like catching COVID could be akin to playing Russian Roulette. I do not mean to sound like an alarmist, but I admit, I am alarmed. I think we all should be. We don’t know enough about the disease to not be alarmed. We are all currently working on the assumption that once you get over it, it’s benign, but there are too many viruses that aren’t to make this assumption. Which is why we should all be responsible and wear masks, just like we tend to be responsible enough to wear clothes out in public.