On Friday, August 27th, Oregon Governor Kate Brown implemented a statewide mandate for everyone above the age of two to wear a mask in all public spaces, which also includes outdoor events. Just when you thought that we (in Oregon) could freely roam again untethered from our masks, BOOM, we’re back at it again; even for those of us who are fully vaccinated.
For the hubster (Eric) and I, this wasn’t a big deal. So over the weekend in advance of the Labor Day holiday, we did a little shopping. We popped into one of our favorite spots where there was signage posted at the entry requiring masks. As we wandered about the store, we noticed several unmasked people roaming about the store in defiance of the mandate. I also noticed these folks were all White. I asked the cashier why the policy wasn’t being enforced and was told that it was for the safety of the staff. The store had previously tried enforcing masking policies early on in the pandemic and received threats of violence in return. No one expects to be threatened with bodily harm while trying to earn a living.
Is this really what we’ve become, a bunch of spoiled children that retaliate when they can have their way? It’s sad and very concerning. I really wish that it weren’t so, but I really do have to shake the finger (you can choose which one) at those who wanted to be defiant against getting vaccinated for whatever the reason(s); medically compromised excluded.
I get it. Properly wearing a mask (meaning not under your chin or nose resembling an ill-fitting pair of underwear or bra) can be uncomfortable, unfashionable, and unflattering for everyone (key word). Right now, we seem to be moving backward instead of forward when it comes to beating back the virus and putting it in the rear view mirror. As I begin writing this piece I’m at the gym; I can actually multitask on the stationary bike. I’m also a masked and very sweaty mess attempting to carve off the sixteen months of COVID calories that incrementally and somehow spontaneously appeared on my waistline as Portland, Oregon emerged from lockdown with a 70% inoculation rate.
Life is filled with compromises. So if it means we have to do an about face and mask up again to slow the spread of the COVID Delta-variant amongst the ill-informed, ill-advised, and ill-willed, I’m doing it. I’m bored with the soundbite excuses that we are the guinea pigs for pharma investors to become wealthier, including our American treasure and country-music icon Dolly Parton who invested (donated) $1 million dollars for the creation of the Moderna vaccine. Yes, there are stakeholders that do benefit from the vaccine success, but that is the nature of any investment that offers dividends. Is this a selfless or selfish act? I guess that depends on the person and their pre-Covid philanthropic engagement. I personally view Dolly’s contribution to the vaccine as exactly that, philanthropic engagement. Back in 2017, she generously donated millions for recovery efforts to victims of the Gatlinburg fire in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountain region.
One reason that appears at the forefront of reasoning for not getting vaccinated is the lack of official Federal Drug Administration approval. Other reasons I’ve heard include the reported side effects ranging from sterility, the growth of a third eye, and turning people into Democrats (Please note that these are not real side effects). I think my favorite excuse for not getting the vaccine was not knowing what’s in it. I’m curious how many people even know what ingredients are in a Mountain Dew or any variety of diet beverages but they still chug gallons of the stuff each year?! All joking aside, and nothing against Mountain Dew, getting vaccinated shouldn’t be motivated by politics or seen as a mass scientific experiment as some may actually believe.
I know that getting vaccinated is a personal decision, much like our choice for a thirst-quenching bubbly beverage. I really prefer Coke products over Pepsi products and always have. But there have been occasions when there has been no other choice and I had to drink the less favored brand. This was a short-lived inconvenience and in the end, it was still refreshing. Masking is exactly the same, just minus the effervescence.
Choosing not to mask up because it’s “temporarily” uncomfortable is really lazy and unsafe. It’s almost like playing Russian Roulette. You may dodge a bullet after the first spin of the barrel, but if the round ends up in the chamber when you pull the trigger on the next spin, the outcome could be deadly. Much like the deadlier coronavirus mutation that is currently running rampant amongst the unvaccinated. Hospitals in Oregon, and elsewhere too, are again being pushed to capacity levels because of the infected.
The pandemic has been hard on the business sector, and particularly difficult for the smaller local businesses. Which also makes it difficult for staff who no longer have employment. It’s part of a horrific cycle that easily could have been controlled (prevented) by us all doing our part and taking this dreaded virus seriously. In the beginning of this pandemic nightmare, I admit that I didn’t think it was going to be as devastating and long term as it has turned out to be. Even without the pandemic, it seems like the world is on fire; I mean that metaphorically and literally. Here on the west coast between Washington, Oregon, and California, there are thousands of acres that have been scorched or are burning creating additional stresses on systems of support and health. In the southern and eastern states, floods, tornados, and hurricanes have left a trail of destruction.
There are still a significant number of people out there who can’t see the big picture for the community as a whole in getting vaccinated and masking up. We have all been suffering enough from COVID-fatigue and all of the various policies, mandates, and practices to encourage a behavioral shift for safety. Just the other day, I watched video footage of a fight that had erupted in protest over a masking policy at a school. If I had kids, I would want both protections for my child against the germs of other kids and teachers. There was also another video of a woman even claiming mask wearing was the cause of the pandemic. I laughed out loud, but it also made me sad because of the potential spread of misinformation and miseducation regarding treatment and the virus.
I’m curious what it would take for the non-vaxxers and non-maskers to give in to the logic and dare I say, the science behind controlling the virus. If we (they) all thought about getting vaccinated as a way that could really save the life of a spouse, child, or friend, would that help?
#wearyourdamnmask #sciencesaveslives #communitymotivatedandgloballydriven