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  • Writer's pictureNathan Max

Anti-Maskers Prolonging Crisis

Updated: Nov 13, 2020

Photo credit: Matt McClain/The Washington Post. Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert has tested positive for COVID-19.

Anyone who refuses to wear a mask at this point is just an asshole.

The science is clear. We wear them to protect everyone around us, not ourselves. Thus, if you don’t wear one, you are showing utter contempt for your fellow man.

One by one, anti-maskers across the country are catching COVID-19. On Wednesday, Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert became the latest to be sickened by the virus. He tested positive shortly before he was set to board Air Force One for a trip to his home state with the president. Then, early Thursday morning, we learned former presidential candidate Herman Cain died from complications from the virus. He is believed to have caught it after attending Donald Trump's ill-fated rally in Tulsa, where virtually nobody wore masks and organizers removed stickers from seats that encouraged physical distancing.

Trump and Republicans are at fault for this fiasco. They turned mask-wearing into a political personal-liberty issue, and now that the virus has spiraled out of control, they can’t put the genie back in the bottle.

Trump finally began wearing a mask occasionally, and urged his supporters to do likewise, just last week. More than 152,000 Americans have died five months into the crisis, and experts warn the situation could still get considerably worse.

On Wednesday night, Dr. Irwin Redlener told Brian Williams on MSNBC that he could envision a scenario in which 800,000 Americans die of the novel coronavirus by the end of the year if we don’t change our behavior en masse. Sadly, it still doesn’t appear Americans are getting the message.

In Florida, where the virus is running rampant, Gov. Ron DeSantis still won’t compel residents to wear masks, and he is trying to force schools to reopen in a few weeks. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp sued Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms -- herself a COVID-19 victim -- when she instituted a mask rule in her city.

What is so hard to understand? The virus has no cure. There are no reliable therapeutics. The best way to prevent it from spreading is by simply covering our faces. How is this so difficult? Why can’t people do this?

We see it works. In New York City and Washington, D.C., despite massive protests in early June, there is no discernible rise in cases. Why? Because the demonstrators were mostly wearing masks.

Yes, it’s uncomfortable. But do you know what is a lot less comfortable? Being hooked to a ventilator. Even for those who are not so unlucky, three weeks of having painful flu-like symptoms on steroids is not a welcome outcome. And we still don’t know the potential long-term deleterious effects of the virus, which for some appear to be debilitating.

Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic people can spread the virus without knowing they have it, so it is critical that everyone cover their faces. An individual could be infected with the disease and still feel healthy.

On Capitol Hill, five months into the crisis, Congressmen and Congresswomen are still fighting with each other over this, just like regular Americans in grocery stores and gas stations from coast to coast. Nancy Pelosi just instituted a mandatory mask rule for the House floor after the Gohmert news became public.

Gohmert has been particularly hostile to wearing masks, to the point where he dictated a work environment that endangered his staff. Gohmert forced his staffers, including three interns, to cram into a tiny office space and berated anyone who deigned to cover their face at work, according to a report in Politico.

He then told them he had tested positive in person, further risking their health.

A day earlier, Gohmert roamed the House floor without a mask, and was recorded walking side-by-side with Attorney General William Barr. This type of behavior is reckless, negligent and disrespectful, and Gohmert is far from alone.

Until we all get on the same page, and people like Gohmert fall in line, this crisis will continue to get worse before it gets better.


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