‘As we’ve come to know more about the virus, as vaccinations are ramping up, and as we’re trying to figure out how to live with some level of COVID in a sustainable way, masking up outside when you’re at most briefly crossing paths with people is starting to feel barely understandable,’ the author reasoned.
Mask enthusiasts melted down in response, insisting that Slate‘s article was ‘irresponsible‘, ‘going to get people killed‘ and ‘misleading‘. Others celebrated the article as ‘a good sign of progress‘. A Harvard infectious disease specialist asserted, ‘I am generally a hawk about maintaining rules with a clear benefit. Outdoor masking has notable costs and really no evidence of benefits.’
Meanwhile, the rest of us normal people thought, ‘wait a second, you guys were still wearing masks outside?’
Yes, outside of the Twitter bubble and large city centers where mask virtue-signaling reigns supreme, no sane person has been wearing a mask outdoors for months. The science doesn’t support it. As Slate noted in its late-to-the-party piece, the chances of catching COVID during a brief moment passing someone else on the sidewalk are lower than getting struck by lightning.
Still, leftists persisted because they didn’t dare upset their woke neighbors who believe a ‘culture of safety‘ is more important than a return to normalcy. In downtown Washington DC, bikers and runners double mask and veer into the middle of the street rather than risk passing another pedestrian in close quarters. In Arlington, Virginia, I still spot people wearing masks while driving in their cars or sitting alone in parks. Refusing to comply often means getting the stink eye from a still terrified traverser.