The definition of masquerade is “a false show or pretense”. I think that’s exactly what the mask mandate/debate has created. If wearing masks (i.e. sock material, dirty t-shirt, 3M dust mask, bandana, etc.) is so darn effective, then why didn’t we do this initially rather than shutting down our society for two months. Restaurants were some of the first businesses to close their doors because for some reason it was deemed that they were a hot spot for spreading the virus while people consumed food and alcohol. Now these same places months later are expressly exempt from wearing masks. People with chronic issue like COPD, asthma, etc. are also exempt. Aren’t those the very people who need the protection the most? The biggest entity in Hamilton County is exempt from the mandate – Hamilton County Department of Education.
Wearing a mask may provide some limited protections where some studies show various percentages of protection, but those studies don’t necessarily spell out what the time of concentration of breathing in one area are. Wearing a mask was fine on a voluntary basis. Ultimately, I believe that the mask mandate may actually give people a false sense of safety and people will tend to go out and do more who probably should have stayed home anyway. People who have symptoms which may or may not be virus related will tend to think that as long as they wear a mask, then they won’t spread anything.
The mandate may or may not be a legal law, but ultimately it is absolutely unenforceable. What our public leaders need to start talking about, and they should have done this prior to the reopening, is that nothing is going to “stop” the spread of the virus. We have slowed it down, but medical “professionals,” politicians, and corporate leaders have given us all a false pretense that if we just do or don’t do this, that, or the other that the virus will vanish and we can go back to life as normal. Most of us are adults here, so please just be honest with us and stop treating us like toddlers.
The news portrays Tennessee and Hamilton County as a hot spot and that’s not true at all. The fact is that people are getting the virus and if you have been hit hard by this or have lost a loved one, then it’s very serious and real to you. But, just looking at the numbers, our state has done way more testing than other states of our size or larger and the more tests you have the positive cases you find. Hamilton County Schools have set a phased approach which will assuredly result in no in class instructions as some point at or soon after schools open. The number of active cases will go up especially after the tens of thousands of local or incoming college students (two in my house) get tested here in our county prior to being allowed to go back to campus. This more than likely result in a “spike” in cases and throw everyone into a panic and leave Mom and Dad trying to figure out how to educate their kids.
This Mask-uerade will not end in September, but maybe we can have fun with it going forward with some creative mask designs. For now at least, I plan to shop on Battlefield Parkway with or without a mask. Better stores and lower taxes, but I’m sure the mask mandate will spread like a virus to Georgia too.
_ Robert Maner
East Ridge, TN