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THOMPSON: Texas, Mississippi ignore science, end mandatory mask wearing

March 08, 2021 - 12:00 PM

 


OPINION


There isn’t a single state among the Divided States of America where you can defecate in public. This, admittedly, is a good thing. I don’t know of a single crowd, much less a riotous mob, that has protested the 51 laws in every state and the District of Columbia against doing your business in public.

I reason that these laws - in addition to simple decency and sparing us from seeing a lot of asses we’d rather not behold - are in the interest of public health. Preventing piles of pooh in public areas means we don’t spread pathogens in the environment...which, in turn, affects disease transmission through person-to-person contact, as well as water and food chain contamination.

Given this perfectly sensible nationwide ban that no one fights, you might think support for wearing a mask to thwart the most deadly pandemic in a century would be, oh, I don’t know, universal. You would, of course, be wrong, very wrong.

This past week, governors in two states - Texas and Mississippi - whose educational ranks are 34th and 46th, respectively, among the 50 states told their citizens they no longer have to wear masks. As Gov. Greg Abbot ordered, Texas is open “100 percent” effective March 10.

This on the same day that Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, “now is not the time” to loosen protections because new cases and deaths are again increasing across the United States.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves - not wanting to be second in a headlong race toward callous stupidity - ended his state’s mask-wearing mandate on the same day. If these two governors were fire chiefs, they just gave orders to ready the gas cans for hurling on the flaming buildings.

Both Governors are Conservative Republicans...as are the Governors of the other three states that have ended mask mandates...Montana, Iowa and North Dakota.

Add to these, the 11 states - Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee - that never mandated masks...and have Republican governors, as well. Detecting a trend?

Each of these Republican governors favoured politics over science...and continue to do so...risking lives. Republican politicians...much like Roman Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar...fiddle as new pandemic flames once again threaten.

Variants of COVID-19 - B.1.351 and B.1.1.7. from The United Kingdom and South Africa, respectively - are in the U.S. and Canada...and are even more transmissible. And this month, college age students celebrate Spring Break with enough pent-up energy to light up every major city in North America. Tens of thousands will descend on beaches in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Florida to party and spread whatever COVID-19 strain is thriving back home...wherever home is. Few will wear masks...because the politicians say you don’t have to.

It is an absolute and unequivocal fact that masks stop the spread of Covid-19. They are one of the most effective non-pharmaceutical protections against the pandemic. Studies of individuals, according to the CDC, show that when both the infected and uninfected persons wear masks - even cloth masks - the transmission rate of the virus goes down by about 70 percent.

Better-fitting and higher-quality masks - like the KN-95 - are even more effective. Science proves the protection we get from good masks is only slightly lower - 80 to 85 percent - than that of vaccination. Vaccination, of course, has other benefits, like creating an antibody response for you without you having to experience sickness.

As for the Republican Governors playing politics...well, I guess that’s why we have elections. Pity, however, that people have to die in the meantime...don’t you think? And to be clear, Texas Gov. Abbot has opened and closed his state and mandated and ended the wearing of masks before.

In fact, he mandated masks last July 2...when COVID-19 cases in his state were lower than now...and yet he’s ending mask wearing now when the threat is increasing. Doesn’t sound like science does it?

Stay tuned...when politics rules science there’s still a chance defecation in public might be possible...at least in 16 states with Conservative Republican governors.

— Don Thompson, an American awaiting Canadian citizenship, lives in Vernon and in Florida. In a career that spans more than 40 years, Don has been a working journalist, a speechwriter and the CEO of an advertising and public relations firm. A passionate and compassionate man, he loves the written word as much as fine dinners with great wines.


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