Do 'normal' people want to get/give SARS-CoV-2?
December 29, 2022 12:17 PM   Subscribe

There have been two recent high-profile articles criticizing those trying to avoid catching or spreading SARS-Cov-2 (or trying to avoid catching/spreading it again): one in the NYTimes, "The Last Holdouts" by Amy Harmon (who reportedly deceived members of a covid safety group for parents about her own position), and one in the New Yorker, "The Case for Wearing Masks Forever," criticizing the People's CDC, by Emma Green (who is reportedly an anti-mask advocate). There have been rebuttals (more inside)

There's a response to Harmon's NYTimes piece by Gregg Gonsalves ; Gonsalves is a contributor to the Multinational Delphi consensus to end the COVID-19 public health threat. And there's a response to Green's NYer piece from anthropologist Martha Lincoln.

For another look at discussions around the pandemic, we can listen to the Death Panel Podcast or read a text version of their Covid Year 3 in review at The New Inquiry: Part One ; Part Two ; Part Three ; or watch this (previously posted) YouTube lecture by Justin Feldman on "How to Hide a Plague: How Elite Capture and Individualism Made Covid Normal." You might also want to check out Peste Magazine and their Snowzzie Awards for Public Health Disservice.
posted by girandole (162 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
I cannot even comprehend how anyone could criticize people trying not to get covid. With regard to pandemic attitudes, I still have the capacity for shock, it seems.
posted by tiny frying pan at 12:20 PM on December 29, 2022 [93 favorites]


No, I don't think 'normal' people want to give or get covid. Even if you go by it being equivalent to getting a vaccine (which it isn't because you can still get re-infected), the vaccines are free and readily available in most developed nations, so why get sick? The only virus I can think of that 'normal' people ever wanted to give each other in recent times was chickenpox and even with that I don't think people do that anymore as we have a vaccine and don't want to deal with the shingles risk later in life.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:27 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


I should add, The Snowzzies are named for ("hosted by") Neoliberal John Snow: "The father of epidemiology, but neoliberal. Ineffectively addressing preventable disease through deregulation and individualism. Parody." The (nonneoliberal) John Snow Society has advocated for using effective masks.
posted by girandole at 12:29 PM on December 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


These fuckers already won, what the fuck else do they want from us?
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on December 29, 2022 [81 favorites]


I'd like to congratulate the world's landlords on their efforts to make the leap from being a metaphorical plague on society to fostering a literal plague afflicting society, and all the rugged individualists of the world for their hard work supporting them.

With that in mind, I'd like to propose that, since we all had to go back to work in offices and re-open malls because landlords campaigned hard to propagandize the claim that the pandemic was over, and since the likeliest place you’re going to catch Covid is overcrowded and badly ventilated buildings, that we start referring to COVID-19 as “the Landlord’s Disease”
posted by mhoye at 12:30 PM on December 29, 2022 [47 favorites]


I finally tested positive for it, on Christmas Day, no less. I'm a pretty healthy no pre-existing conditions woman in her mid 40s and it knocked me on my ass.

Today is the first day I am able to remain upright and functional. Obviously, despite feeling much better, I am still positive (as is my partner, who tested positive for the first time five days before me). Now that I have experienced it firsthand for myself, I will never ever understand the casualness of people saying, "Oh, whatever, everyone will get it eventually." I am like, it is fucked up that you would be blase about something that honestly sucked so hard, because not everyone is going to be like me, and mend fairly quickly. (At least I hope I continue to mend quickly. I don't know how the next few days will go.)

And those of you who have had COVID and are also parents? You deserve a metal. I cannot imagine caring for small humans while feeling like ass on toast.
posted by Kitteh at 12:34 PM on December 29, 2022 [41 favorites]


Hmm.. I didn't read the NY Times piece as particularly negative, although it does convey the normalcy-bias they always do.. based on my brief time subscribing early in the Trump era I came to see their project as most about justifying and reinforcing the values and biases of the liberal white male elite. I work in a masking environment and I live in the likely most masked region of the US (SF Bay Area) so I may be less enraged by their failure to actively advocate for masks because I am experiencing the harms less directly.
posted by latkes at 12:37 PM on December 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


When I get even a regular fucking cold these days, my lungs seize up and I have difficulty climbing stairs. It persists for weeks even with steroid management. Also, we spent this past weekend with family members, each of whom has multiple, multiple risk factors.

Anybody suggesting that I should take my mask off or that people shouldn't care about containing COVID or RSV or flu can fuck all the way off into the sun.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:38 PM on December 29, 2022 [36 favorites]


Emma Green (who is reportedly an anti-mask advocate).

This seems like a needlessly false framing of what is alleged in that linked tweet.
posted by Dip Flash at 12:38 PM on December 29, 2022 [10 favorites]


I just don't understand why anyone cares. Do I think some people are stuck in an obsolete risk model? Yeah. But wearing a mask in public indoor spaces is a mitigation whose costs are slight and which fall almost exclusively on the wearer. It's a measure people in other countries take prophylactically when they have, like, a cold. (Something we in the West should have been doing and which I plan to do in future.) What do you care. Why the need for weird psychoanalysis of mask-wearers when COVID does actually still exist and even with vaccines and existing treatments is, at the very least, an unpleasant experience that requires five days of quarantine? Sadly, my mom brought me the virus for Christmas, and while so far it isn't so horrible physically, I'm missing my vacation and stuck inside and it suuuuuuuuuucks. I feel quite happy about my prior decision to mask in indoor public spaces and delay this experience for nearly three years. At least I know I got it because at some point it becomes necessary to see your elderly mother and not because I didn't bother to wear a mask when at some dumb movie.
posted by praemunire at 12:45 PM on December 29, 2022 [65 favorites]


I can understand people who’ve had it wanting everyone to get it because otherwise, if it turns out to have significant long term effects, they will be at a competitive disadvantage for the rest of their lives.

And perhaps even worse, unless enough people get it, our society will ignore their suffering and simply push them aside if and when they have problems.
posted by jamjam at 12:46 PM on December 29, 2022 [10 favorites]


Still need to read the article itself, but Lincoln’s response to it on the face seems pretty slim. It sounds like she has a beef with how Green has characterized things and drops some names that mean nothing to me as bad sources of info, but doesn’t really give context for them. It’s a bit inside baseball to me, so hopefully someone will write a more general critique of the article for those of us who don’t track every player in the space. (Gonsalves’s response to the NYT seemed much clearer.)
posted by Going To Maine at 12:47 PM on December 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


This seems like a needlessly false framing of what is alleged in that linked tweet.

False because it isn't "reportedly"? If you dig into her Twitter feed, she definitely seems like an anti-masker, with the usual conservative grievances about left-wing strawmen.

Tbh, I'm surprised she is a New Yorker employee, having read some of her tweets.
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:49 PM on December 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


I was alerted to all this because I follow Gregg Gonsalves on twitter. I reposted some of his thread on my Facebook page, where my Boomer NPR liberal friends and family are located. Most of them agreed with my (Gonsalves') outrage, but they still go to family functions etc. and sit at the dining table for an hour-long meal (because meals don't "count," I guess?)

Fellow Indoor Maskers: what do you do at mealtimes? Do you live in a warm enough climate that when you have to eat with people you can do so outside?

I'm asking because I spent Christmas as the only masked person in a family group of 6 people (including 2 kids who are in school where many people are getting infected daily). It was fine to sit there with my N95 on, except that I would have liked to have been able to eat or drink something. I'm not of the philosophy that taking your mask off "just to eat" is a good idea (Dr. Michael Osterholm of CIDRAP says it's absurd). BTW I'm in NYC, highest transmission rate in the US.

So yeah, I always mask indoors except it's quite unpleasant when everyone else is partaking of a meal (as in "comPANionship") and would love to know what others do (I'm 72, have some health conditions; my sister was at the Xmas thing, she's 78, with much worse health conditions, and was not masking).

TL;DR: I'm old but everything still really confuses me.
posted by DMelanogaster at 12:52 PM on December 29, 2022 [23 favorites]


These fuckers already won, what the fuck else do they want from us?

They also want us to absolve them.
posted by MrJM at 12:59 PM on December 29, 2022 [102 favorites]


I caught Covid in September. I was physically weak, had a very sore throat, and was coughing up bloody phlegm in the morning for a week. Tested positive for 15 days, which created its own problems. Some other circulatory symptoms I still have that may not resolve, even with medication; who knows.

I would never imagine someone would want to catch this virus. Or use a conspiracy-based, politically-tribal value system to justify spreading it. As a group, conservatives have proved themselves to me to be beyond terrible people for making this argument, and the media are culpable for helping them spread their memetically diseased thinking. (And for letting them off the hook for deliberately spreading a disease that has sickened and killed millions.)
posted by They sucked his brains out! at 12:59 PM on December 29, 2022 [17 favorites]


Re: Emma Green.
"funny story, emma is actually the head of the in-person committee at my synagogue. she recently decided to repeal the policy that tied masking requirements to the CDC community levels, so now thanks to her we can all sing maskless together even though the CDC recommends masking."

https://twitter.com/mumblerant/status/1608259706006671360

hat tip - naked capitalism
posted by cfraenkel at 1:00 PM on December 29, 2022 [11 favorites]


Children have already been growing up less empathetic and more sociopathic due to living their lives online rather than in-person. Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks. I imagine the sociopathy of the next generation is going to be next level.

Don't get me wrong, I love wearing masks and still do so all the time for my own selfish reasons of not wanting to get any sniffles (i'm vaccinated too), but I feel like this may be a case of the solution being as bad or perhaps even worse than the problem.
posted by fantasticness at 1:02 PM on December 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


Fellow Indoor Maskers: what do you do at mealtimes? Do you live in a warm enough climate that when you have to eat with people you can do so outside?

I'm only going to eat with someone if I'm comfortable being unmasked with them.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 1:02 PM on December 29, 2022 [38 favorites]


Only thing I’m surprised about there is the the CDC recommending masking - she’s awful, absolutely anti-mask, has been relentlessly so from the beginning and absolutely will not take more or less the entirety society giving in to her demands as long as she has to suffer seeing one or two people voluntarily trying not to spread diseases.

She’s Nate Silver level garbage.
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on December 29, 2022 [9 favorites]


I just don't understand why anyone cares. Do I think some people are stuck in an obsolete risk model? Yeah. But wearing a mask in public indoor spaces is a mitigation whose costs are slight and which fall almost exclusively on the wearer. It's a measure people in other countries take prophylactically when they have, like, a cold. [...] What do you care.

People think you are judging them and subtlety calling them out. I run into a similar thing because I don't drink alcohol. It makes some people really uncomfortable.
posted by Mitheral at 1:04 PM on December 29, 2022 [37 favorites]


Children have already been growing up less empathetic and more sociopathic due to living their lives online rather than in-person. Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks. I imagine the sociopathy of the next generation is going to be next level.

Non bullshit citation extremely needed.
posted by Artw at 1:05 PM on December 29, 2022 [160 favorites]



@emmaogreen
·
May 4, 2021
The last year has been harrowing. Making sacrifices--staying home, wearing masks, cancelling weddings and funerals and graduations--has become this sign of civic virtue. And I think some progressives are having a really hard time giving that up.

The Liberals Who Can't Quit Lockdown
posted by oneirodynia at 1:06 PM on December 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


i'm only going to eat with someone if I'm comfortable being unmasked with them.

Same. It's not a big circle, admittedly, but that's because I am inclined to being a hermit!
posted by Kitteh at 1:07 PM on December 29, 2022 [8 favorites]


Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks.

Where are these places where kids can't see any unmasked faces? I live in a deep blue city in a blue state in the US and more than half the people I see when I'm out and about are unmasked.
posted by creepygirl at 1:08 PM on December 29, 2022 [35 favorites]


Fellow Indoor Maskers: what do you do at mealtimes? Do you live in a warm enough climate that when you have to eat with people you can do so outside?

We (meaning our household of two and our closest friends) ask people to test before gatherings. We crack a few windows and turn up the air purifier. We have two large air purifiers that we run if we have a bunch of people over.

At a friends the other day we tested before going to eat an amazing porchetta and drink wine. He had a CO2 meter and opened a window when it got high. None of this stuff is hard and so far none of these get togethers for dinner or brunch or birthdays have resulted in anyone getting sick.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:11 PM on December 29, 2022 [16 favorites]


Fellow Indoor Maskers: what do you do at mealtimes? Do you live in a warm enough climate that when you have to eat with people you can do so outside?
I've personally given up on a hard stance on that one. But, I only eat in large and not too crowded public spaces and carry a good CO2 meter. (Or in private spaces with small numbers of people who I know are careful.) I hold my breath when drinking on airplanes. It's not perfect, but some risk is worth it to me.
posted by eotvos at 1:12 PM on December 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


These fuckers already won, what the fuck else do they want from us?

This last decade has been feeling like not only do we have to be force fed fecal sandwiches, we have to agree that the feces is scrumptious chocolate and good for us, Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia and there's no such thing as gaslighting.

I mean, I pretty much gave up masking for half a year (I'm on my second bivalent COVID shot after four of the original shots), but I've actually been going back to masking because we've got three respiratory illnesses going around and I have extremely vulnerable relatives I'm in frequent contact with.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:13 PM on December 29, 2022 [14 favorites]


The People’s C.D.C. matter-of-factly reports that getting covid more than once increases your risk of death and hospitalization, and of developing chronic conditions affecting your lungs, heart, brain, and other organs. No amount of covid is safe, and no number of shots can protect you: “We want to say plainly that you can have a mild infection and still get Long COVID,” the organization wrote, in a Weather Report in June. “Vaccinated people can also get Long COVID.”

How much protection is viable and meaningful protection, how safe is "safe," what reduction in probability vaccines and boosters provide you are open to debate. That is where the grey area lies, which risks are comparatively sane in the balance between engaging in everyday activities and maximizing personal safety. The reward for vigilance may be proportionally smaller now in a vaccinated world than it was at this time two and a half years ago.

But is there reason to doubt any of the above statements, i.e. that any COVID case might result in Long COVID, regardless of your prior medical and vaccination history?

No?

Then to answer the post title, no, I don't effing want to get/give it.
posted by delfin at 1:13 PM on December 29, 2022 [14 favorites]


Fellow Indoor Maskers: what do you do at mealtimes?

I mask indoors in public settings. With the exception of the holidays just recently, I have not been in other people’s homes. I can think of four times in the last few weeks that I have had a meal indoors. On those occasions, we were not seated near other restaurant patrons.

I did not mask in the homes of family members over the holidays. There was one big family get together with extended family and smaller get togethers with my siblings and their kids, all of whom have taken Covid very seriously. My family is all vaccinated and boosted. I guess we’ll find out soon enough if that was a mistake.

My sister and I talked about how with vaccines and masks, we feel like we can make educated decisions re: risk and go into activities asking ourselves, is doing this worth potentially getting Covid? For me, shopping without a mask at Target is not worth potentially getting Covid but going without a mask to spend holidays with my extended family, all of whom are vaccinated and boosted, is worth potentially getting Covid. Maybe ask me again in a few days if that calculus held up.
posted by kat518 at 1:14 PM on December 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


These fuckers already won, what the fuck else do they want from us?

They also want us to absolve them.


Only partway through the article, but this seems like a degree of hatred for people who don’t wear masks that the People’s CDC itself doesn’t seem to possess. (Depending, I suppose, on which “fuckers” we’re talking about.) Indeed, the People’s CDC appears to be mad at systems more than at any one person, and at the muddy meaning surrounding the pandemic.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:15 PM on December 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


I dislike wearing a mask. Frankly I'm tired of wearing a mask largely because if people had followed the science and (a) isolated/masked as we were supposed to and (b) gotten vaccinated then the pandemic would not be what it is now, countless lives would have been saved, etc. and etc.

But you know what? I work in a goddamned hospital and the policy is "everyone wears a mask" so guess what, I wear a mask at work. Does it suck? Yes, but at this point it's pretty normal. The church my son's scout troop meets at follows CDC guidance, so after a while of not masking when community risk was low, when risk went up, we went back to wearing masks at the meetings. Does it kind of suck? Yes, but at this point it's pretty normal. If I see someone wearing a mask outside of work, it no longer seems weird or unusual. I just ignore it and let that person follow their own personal risk model. Does it suck? Really, it has absolutely zero negative effects on me - hell, if that person is masked because they don't feel well, wearing the mask makes me safer! - and at this point it's pretty normal.

Will we wear masks forever? Some people might. If you're one of those people, it's none of my goddamn business why you choose to wear a mask.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:17 PM on December 29, 2022 [37 favorites]


A lot the measures you could take short of wearing N95s everywhere are very limited in effectiveness because of the layers of defence these fuckers have worked hard to erode are not there. I’d love to feel safer going unmasked more often, thank you, but they’ve tilted society so far against taking any minor measure that it just isn’t going to happen.

So yes, to answer the question in one of the ledes, I *am* going to wear a mask forever, thanks to Emma Green and assorted similar fucks.
posted by Artw at 1:17 PM on December 29, 2022 [35 favorites]


(If you want to eat food in a public place while wearing a mask, you gotta do the whole "inhale-pop-off-mask-pop-food-in-mouth-pop-mask-back-on” move. It’s a trick you can learn!)
posted by Going To Maine at 1:19 PM on December 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


I cannot imagine caring for small humans while feeling like ass on toast.

It - wasn’t fun, especially as kid also got Covid, and was too young for the vaccine. In a way though, having a sick kid makes it weirdly easier to deal with your own symptoms, as you’re too busy dealing with theirs.

This year has been really rough for that - daycares are a great virus vector at the best of times, and after 2+ years of pandemic are multiply so, it seems. Combine that with a shortage of kid cold/flu medication here - ooof.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:21 PM on December 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


Fellow Indoor Maskers: what do you do at mealtimes? Do you live in a warm enough climate that when you have to eat with people you can do so outside?

I don't eat around other people any more. I will eat outside when I'm far from home because I bike, but I make sure I'm 20+ feet away from other people, if any. Intentionally being around others as a social thing while they eat is out of the question for me at this time.

My answer might change in a few years when the dust settles, but it hasn't settled. I am in a position where I can err on the side of conservative, so I prefer to do that for now.
posted by aniola at 1:22 PM on December 29, 2022 [20 favorites]


Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks.

I don’t buy this. Do these children not watch television? Do their parents, siblings, grandparents, teachers and classmates wear masks 24/7? I have a kiddo who was born just before the pandemic started. She’s more empathetic than her older sibling was at the same age.

… this may be a case of the solution being as bad or perhaps even worse than the problem.

BRB asking family members who work in health care which is worse - mask wearing or treating people who are dying from Covid. I feel like it’ll be a short conversation.
posted by kat518 at 1:24 PM on December 29, 2022 [55 favorites]


I cannot even comprehend how anyone could criticize people trying not to get covid.

Early in 2020, John Oliver said, “I will never understand how or why Republicans made ‘not spreading disease’ a culture war issue.”
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:25 PM on December 29, 2022 [48 favorites]


These fuckers already won, what the fuck else do they want from us?

It’s the equivalent to the gun lobby. They won, no one is coming to take their guns away, and the occasional massacre of the rest of us is the price we all pay for their victory.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:27 PM on December 29, 2022 [23 favorites]


Children have already been growing up less empathetic and more sociopathic due to living their lives online rather than in-person. Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks. I imagine the sociopathy of the next generation is going to be next level.

You know autistic people struggle to read emotion and are not sociopaths, right?

As an autistic person who has permanent nervous system damage from post-viral illness, I can tell you that the chronic illness is a hell of a lot worse than the autism.
posted by brook horse at 1:28 PM on December 29, 2022 [93 favorites]


I have been less cautious. I have two close family members positive right now. One of them found out today, on her birthday. I feel guilty that I've been less cautious as I don't mask everywhere any more, only on public transit, really. I don't know how it slipped away, in degrees. First not masking at my mostly empty office, when I do have to go in. Then not at stores since I hardly ever go, and usually a quick trip somewhere small.

I don't want to give it to anyone. But it's so, so easy to slip into complacency about it and I think I'm a perfect example. I masked so carefully for such a long time and it's a sad human fact that many can't keep that level of vigilance forever, despite us thinking we were on the side firmly of trying.

I share this because I think many are this way and my first comment was truthful to my reaction to this post but felt in retrospect like I was lying in a sense that I'm super vigilant. I haven't been, lately. And I don't know to ride this balance or go back to always masking. Lots to reflect on.
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:30 PM on December 29, 2022 [19 favorites]


So yes, to answer the question in one of the ledes, I am going to wear a mask forever, thanks to Emma Green and assorted similar fucks.

I’ve finished the article! It, uh, doesn’t really seem like the hit job that this thread makes it out to be. Maybe it was gonna be, I dunno, and the editors defanged it. But it basically seems like a story about a popular group that makes recommendations CDC folks like but think can’t be achieved and uses some fairly lefty language about equity. There’s no smoking gun-ish insinuation that they are producing horrible outcomes for individuals or anything. This all feels so thin and general falls into a standard “what are those wacky liberals doing?” bucket.

Hard for me to feel the anger I guess. The NYT piece miffed me, this one is just kind of there.
posted by Going To Maine at 1:30 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


Incidentally, news reports in Ontario this week point out that both federally and provincially, 2022 saw more Covid deaths than 2020 or 2021. Great.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:31 PM on December 29, 2022 [10 favorites]


Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks. I imagine the sociopathy of the next generation is going to be next level.

So, children who have impaired vision, or none at all are destined to grow up sociopathic? I need some hard evidence here if you're going to say things like this.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:31 PM on December 29, 2022 [59 favorites]


Anti-COVID measures are of course allowed without complaint if they are racist and ineffective.
posted by Artw at 1:33 PM on December 29, 2022 [14 favorites]


(I will say that that Green was definitely hunting for something spicy, like when she probed the group about policy recommendations for zero COVID - but all she got back was the note that they aren’t making policy recommendations -coupled with some expert comments that the group’s goals are unfeasible for the entire population- so it doesn’t seem like there was much spice to dig up.)
posted by Going To Maine at 1:34 PM on December 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


Btw, emotion is read much more from the eyes than the mouth. That's why one of the tests for autism is literally called "reading the mind in the eyes." Autistic people tend to focus on the mouth, and are worse at reading emotion (though it's unclear if/how those are directly related).
posted by brook horse at 1:34 PM on December 29, 2022 [8 favorites]


Only partway through the article, but this seems like a degree of hatred for people who don’t wear masks that the People’s CDC itself doesn’t seem to possess. (Depending, I suppose, on which “fuckers” we’re talking about.) Indeed, the People’s CDC appears to be mad at systems more than at any one person, and at the muddy meaning surrounding the pandemic.

If I was openly furious at every person around me who now disdains wearing masks in public indoor places, I would be dead as hell right now from heart failure from the strain of it. Here in my suburban corner of my state, masking has gone from the norm to 50/50 to comparatively rare. Upstate, in redder pastures? If I go into a store or a restaurant with my in-laws, my wife and I will be the only ones in N95 masks. We get stares. A lady outside a local Trader Joe's stared at us as we walked by, and we heard her murmur "...They're wearing MASKS!" to the small children she was with; I refrained from saying "Thank you, Captain Obvious" back at her. My wife got snarked at while wearing a mask at the antique store we help out at; "There's always one," the customer declared in her direction. I was in line with my wife at Walmart on Christmas Eve and staring at hundreds of bare faces all around me.

I'm annoyed by those people and what I perceive as their lack of risk management skills. But I'm not generally angry at them; I am more frustrated by them than angry.

I am angry at the society and the politicians and the businesses and the outrage machines that have consistently put a higher priority on restoring normal operations as quickly and widely as possible over general public health. So if that makes me a People's CDC member-in-waiting, send me the form.
posted by delfin at 1:35 PM on December 29, 2022 [19 favorites]


Anti-COVID measures are of course allowed without complaint if they are racist and ineffective.

See also.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on December 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


Neal Stephenson's 'Termination Shock' (published Oct 2021) already made some forecasts assuming that small humans are smart - when masked, people will learn to emote around the mask - and that younger people are able to adapt more readily.

Or take 'The Expanse' collection forecasting that people will develop other ways to communicate if everyone is wearing a helmet much of the time.

Here's an opinion piece (June 2021) in 'Neuron' about masks, human facial expressions, etc. They bring up that in the healthcare setting, people are masked up while performing surgery, etc., and are still able to communicate nonverbally effectively. Not to mention countries where masking is the norm.

Here's a research article in Int J Environ Res Public Health (May 2020) about depression and anxiety (and PPE) in Hong Kong - people were depressed because they were worried about the availability of masks to use.

I know none of this specifically addresses emotional development during pretty-critical periods (youth), but straight-line positing that children will grow up sociopathic seems more than a little projection-ey.
posted by porpoise at 1:36 PM on December 29, 2022 [18 favorites]


Autistic people tend to focus on the mouth

That's where the words come out!!!
posted by mittens at 1:36 PM on December 29, 2022 [26 favorites]


Brb, adding that next to "of course it's all in my head, that's where the neurons are!" in my folder of excellent responses.
posted by brook horse at 1:39 PM on December 29, 2022 [11 favorites]


Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks.

Anecdata here, but my high school students do a pretty amazing job of reading emotion and intent via people's eyes.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:40 PM on December 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks.

How could this possibly be true?

First, kids see unmasked family members all the time in their households.
Second, humans physically signal emotions with eyes, forehead, shoulders, and most notably voice.
Third, TV.
Fourth, even in, eg, San Francisco where there was a strong mask mandate, it didn't last very long. If a kid was born right before it started, they'd have been less than a year old when it ended, with lots of time to read faces; if a kid was two, they would be three, etc etc. Even if the first year of life were somehow so critical that merely seeing family faces was not enough, it would be a micro-generation with a partial problem.
Fifth, blind people never see faces but don't grow up to be disregulated sociopaths.
posted by Frowner at 1:44 PM on December 29, 2022 [49 favorites]


If I was openly furious at every person around me who now disdains wearing masks in public indoor places, I would be dead as hell right now from heart failure from the strain of it.

I'm an extremely boiled frog about it. It doesn't even occur to me to be mad at people not wearing masks when I'm out in public. It only comes up occasionally in abstract when 30% of my office is out sick or when a mandatory in-person training is suddenly announced (guess what happened within two weeks of each other?).
posted by brook horse at 1:44 PM on December 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


Children have already been growing up less empathetic and more sociopathic due to living their lives online rather than in-person. Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks. I imagine the sociopathy of the next generation is going to be next level.

Cite please.

The kids I know (largely pre-adolescent) are way more giving, sensitive, smarter and connected than my generation was. And, just over 50% of the kids in my child's classroom still wear masks quite effectively. Some prefer it, some don't, but they all seem to get along just fine on the fieldtrips i've supervised and socialize just fine with or without them.

A stern look from behind a mask can still get a 10 year old to cease bad behavior. So, I dunno, like, I beg to differ?
posted by furnace.heart at 1:45 PM on December 29, 2022 [17 favorites]


The Texicalaan books have a whole culture where a lot of socially-approved emotion is done via eyes -- I've worked hard on this with masking (hello, yes, I am autistic and prone to spend a tremendous amount of time thinking about how to perform in social situations) and feel like it works pretty well!

As much as I get tired of mascne, I'm still going to mask in most situations.

Also, thank you MF crew for this particular pile-on. It's easy to feel isolated as mandates dropped in the US and people just don't give a shit anymore, and stuff like this keeps me going.
posted by curious nu at 1:47 PM on December 29, 2022 [16 favorites]


I cannot even comprehend how anyone could criticize people trying not to get covid.

Every single thread on covid here is absolutely infested by people who think not trying to get sick is some form of "covid scolding" and act as if teachers not wanting to be murdered en masse was some sort of deliberate child abuse.
posted by Glegrinof the Pig-Man at 1:51 PM on December 29, 2022 [24 favorites]


They knew using lead for household plumbing was horrible in the early 1900s, but the Lead Industry Association made sure we kept using it for water systems into the 1980s. See also tobacco products, asbestos, lead in gasoline and paint. As with the pandemic these created large numbers of people with physical and cognitive impairments and we’ve done very little for those whose bodies or minds were destroyed to protect industry, jobs and wealth.
posted by interogative mood at 1:59 PM on December 29, 2022 [12 favorites]


the ancient Romans knew asbestos was dangerous. (they still mined and used it...)
posted by supermedusa at 2:01 PM on December 29, 2022


Every single thread on covid here is absolutely infested by people who think not trying to get sick is some form of "covid scolding"

Probably not a great idea to compare people to vermin while trying to argue against bad-faith weaponization of hyperbole.
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:03 PM on December 29, 2022 [11 favorites]


This seems like a needlessly false framing of what is alleged in that linked tweet.

It really doesn't take much digging at all to see that Emma Green is very much an anti-mask advocate and strongly minimizes the seriousness of the pandemic.

It's quite easy and accessible for almost everyone to wear some form of mask when out in public. Masks are an effective way to reduce the spread of covid, a very serious and contagious disease. I know that sounds simple; that's because it really is that simple.
posted by AlSweigart at 2:17 PM on December 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


This was my first fp post (long-time erstwhile lurker, occasional commenter) and although I'm not entirely satisfied about how I phrased everything, I am surprisingly gratified at the engagement (thanks, porpoise and Artw and others for the links etc.)

Also, though, let me just say again for anyone interested in this sort of thing, Death Panel and Peste are great.
posted by girandole at 2:22 PM on December 29, 2022 [15 favorites]


I caught COVID just before Halloween. This was after 2+ years of always masking, social distancing, doing online over Zoom etc. whatever I possibly could (and losing business as a result), and being fully vaxxed and boosted. I went to a good international conference where most people (not all) were masked one day. The next day I was coughing hard. Third day, tested positive.

Like Kitteh, the bastard virus knocked me flat. Two days of skin-crawling fever. I isolated in our bedroom (my wife moved to living room) and slept ridiculous amounts, 12 hours/day.

That was two months ago. I've been *slowly* building up to my pre-infection exercise routine, and am not fully there yet. So far no sign of long COVID. I know too many friends with that vileness.

I'm still masking and dread round two. I do not want to roll those dice again.

Yet my work (higher ed) tends to prefer in-person events over online. I fear that to pay bills I'll keep having to risk another infection and another change at long COVID.
posted by doctornemo at 2:24 PM on December 29, 2022 [11 favorites]


Also, though, let me just say again for anyone interested in this sort of thing, Death Panel and Peste are great.

I am veeeery slowly working my way through the 3-hour "year 3" retrospective from Death Panel. I can generally only listen when I'm out walking because it's just... so much, and I need a physical way to deal with the emotion. And the weather's pretty crappy right now so I'm mostly inside.

Should probably start some Fanfare threads for it. Consistently amazing reporting and validation that, yes, shit is fucked and it's not just you.
posted by curious nu at 2:27 PM on December 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


IDK, I've been able to make little kids smile and giggle in grocery stores, just like pre-Covid, even when masked. Seems to me they're reading emotion on masked faces just fine.
posted by cooker girl at 2:31 PM on December 29, 2022 [17 favorites]


I've been *slowly* building up to my pre-infection exercise routine, and am not fully there yet. So far no sign of long COVID. I

Not at all trying to be quibbly - but isn't what you describe an arm of long covid? If what you describe means shortness of breath, that is. I had covid, but was back to normal a week later. I think the range of experiences add to the estrangement here in our discussions.
posted by tiny frying pan at 2:32 PM on December 29, 2022 [8 favorites]


I'm still wearing masks, as I have the entire pandemic. I never got a rude comment or weird look until recently, when I had two in a week.

When I was working at a COVID testing site my coworkers decided I should be the person who enforced the mask requirements for the patients, so I've sternly told more people than I can count that they need to put a mask on properly and while I sometimes got pushback on that, nobody was ever upset that I was wearing one. (Sometimes people would complain about not being able to hear clearly, but it was a noisy environment.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:37 PM on December 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


Had COVID a couple of months back (after the whole family got it), took Paxlovid, had a relatively light experience from it that I still would not ever want to experience, have had a hard to define and certainly not recognisable as anything diagnosable decline in energy and executive function ever since. Similar thing happened after I had the horrendous flu that probably wasn’t COVID back around the first outbreak, which again leads me to wonder about the “probably”.
posted by Artw at 2:39 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


I'm the sickest person I know in the sick person circles I travel in IRL. I also have never gotten COVID. I plan on continuing to never get it, because it really sounds like an exceedingly awful way to die.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:42 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


Autistic people tend to focus on the mouth

That's where the words come out!!!
posted by mittens at 13:36 on December 29 [has favorites +] [!]


Amber: "For example, I learned that you should look people in the eye, not in the mouth."

Dina: "But that's what's moving."
posted by cgc373 at 2:56 PM on December 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


Belatedly, DMelanogaster; my partner and I still mask in stores (and avoid stores a lot more than we used to). Our local family has switched to three branches:

one schedules indoor meals weeks in advance and we’re all expected to minimize exposure for the 5 days beforehand and rapid-test the day of. Filters blasting, windows often cracked. So far no transmission in this group. Family from cross country came to visit for a LONG summer visit, one of them caught it on the plane (probably), no transmission but complicated logistics for a while.

Another branch just doesn’t eat indoors together; in winter we go to the few restaurants with winter terraces (roofed, not walled) , and eat merrily in our outdoors gear and fingerless gloves. So far no transmission in this group either! Much thanks to the restaurants, their chilly servers, and the other patrons keeping them open.

Third group overlaps with the second, though not with me, and is way into second cases of COVID and apparently of long COVID. No deaths yet. More school-aged children so more hard choices. Don’t know their testing regime.
posted by clew at 2:57 PM on December 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


This is mostly an observation from my local area, but I think there's sort of a "critical mass" of around 10% of people masking in the grocery store or other retail situations that makes it very difficult for anti-maskers to hassle people or even say anything at all - they'd have to hassle far too many people. We have consistently stayed at that level (and I think it's gone up a bit recently) so I've never felt any pushback other than when I'm reading New York Times articles.
posted by allegedly at 2:58 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


My wife just got a text from one of her cow orkers, letting her know that two other cow orkers from upstairs both tested positive for COVID today.

In a doctor's office.

Luck of the draw, perhaps? Unavoidable casualties of the holiday rush? It's just COVID, they'll be back in action in a week?

Maybe?

But with COVID, RSV and the flu all bouncing around in abundance right now, with holiday shopping and socializing at its peak, with people traveling all over the country, it just seems like this is a time of acute vulnerability all around. And this is just another gentle reminder that you don't have to party hearty or eat in busy restaurants or snuggle strangers under the mistletoe to get sick; you just have to... exist in your normal places and activities.

And that's not changing any time soon.
posted by delfin at 3:02 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


Artw: “These fuckers already won, what the fuck else do they want from us?”
They want us to tell them we don't think they are immoral for not wearing masks.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:08 PM on December 29, 2022 [34 favorites]


They want us to tell them we don't think they are immoral for not wearing masks.

Exactly. It's just like with the police. It literally is not enough that we let them get away with literal murder: they also don't want us to say bad things about them neither.
posted by AlSweigart at 3:12 PM on December 29, 2022 [41 favorites]


This is mostly an observation from my local area, but I think there's sort of a "critical mass" of around 10% of people masking in the grocery store or other retail situations that makes it very difficult for anti-maskers to hassle people or even say anything at all - they'd have to hassle far too many people. We have consistently stayed at that level (and I think it's gone up a bit recently) so I've never felt any pushback other than when I'm reading New York Times articles.

This sounds right to me. We've recently gone back to being more cautious (i.e., masking in public indoors spaces) in order to be able to support someone who is temporarily more vulnerable, and no one has blinked or said anything, positive or negative. But this is a blue area in a blue state and there's been a certain level of people masking that never dropped off totally. It's also been noticeably up over the last month or two, too, I think out of the concern of the multiple viruses going around and warnings about local hospitals getting stretched thin.

I wish the lack of judgment we are getting right now was the experience everyone could have. I had some much less happy interactions in Idaho a while back in one of those megachurch suburbs close to Boise; people were openly pretty unpleasant.
posted by Dip Flash at 3:40 PM on December 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


I am particularly enjoying that this has normalized masking. As I am excessively poor (grossing <10k per year), it has helped facilitate stealing from big chain grocery stores, in conjunction with paying cash. It was pretty telling that only once inflation got really bad did grocery stores suddenly add more cameras and the radio gates, along with, in a couple places, locking physical gates paired with the aforementioned radio gates.

I still haven't gotten it and I don't plan on it. I'm not going to support this normalization of a disease that is more virulent; transmissible, dangerous than the flu. This is probably the greatest psyop after Iraq, quite honestly. How did the ultra wealthy; employers, corporations, sell us on the idea that we should go back to work and get sick?
posted by constantinescharity at 3:49 PM on December 29, 2022 [10 favorites]


I just found out today that I've had a close contact with someone who's testing positive for Covid. So far I'm still testing negative and this person is luckily not experiencing any symptoms, but I'm not going to the family holiday gathering this weekend regardless of whether I actually get it for the second time or not.

It just.....makes me so fucking angry. Everyone I know tries to be careful. We're fully boosted. We wear masks out in public. We limit what events we go to and immediately cancel if there's even a chance one of us might be infected. I've gotten so good at sticking swabs up my nose to self test that I hardly even sneeze anymore. And still.....COVID!

I'm tried of people not masking at the fucking grocery store. These days, if I see someone else wearing a mask I nod to them, because they're one of the few sane people left in the world. I will be the first in line to join the Secret Society of Goody-Goods Who Mask when it's formed, and be warned, because I will take every opportunity to mock, insult, and denigrate non-maskers behind their backs.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 3:50 PM on December 29, 2022 [9 favorites]


How did the ultra wealthy; employers, corporations, sell us on the idea that we should go back to work and get sick?

We were too poor to say no.
posted by tiny frying pan at 3:53 PM on December 29, 2022 [14 favorites]


(On second thought, I must concede that the quote that Green pulls about the CDC being pro-eugenics is pretty spicy. But it’s just spice. It doesn’t tie into any kind of program being run by the People’s CDC.
posted by Going To Maine at 4:05 PM on December 29, 2022


Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks. I imagine the sociopathy of the next generation is going to be next level.

As an autistic person, who doesn't nessarily perceive faces as non-neurodivergent people do, and considering the number of visually impaired people who grow up seeing no faces at all, what the fuck?
posted by Phalene at 4:07 PM on December 29, 2022 [24 favorites]


I'm 51, pretty healthy overall, and have had Covid three times now. Fully vaxxed and boosted. I was a diligent mask-wearer until recently (bad move). All three times have been relatively mild. But this last one seems to be sticking around a little longer. Really tired and I'm about 13 days out from my positive test.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:07 PM on December 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


Luck of the draw, perhaps? Unavoidable casualties of the holiday rush? It's just COVID, they'll be back in action in a week?
Probably because the new COVID omicron subvariant, XBB, is theorized to be the most infectious and immune-system evading variant yet, which makes sense considering that the virus is still running absolutely rampant all around the globe with little sign of stopping. Any pre-existing immunity people may have acquired from catching COVID prior to this variant taking hold is probably ineffectual at this point in preventing people from getting seriously symptomatic.
posted by erattacorrige at 4:08 PM on December 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


@SoberHighland
The "real" conspiracy, from a guy who reads the studies, is that the vaccines kind of suck. When my parents were making the decision 30-odd years ago on whether to get me vaccinated as an infant, the language was usually "prevention of infection". The polio vaccine, for example, has about an 80% protection against infection. It is the most bizarre informational coup that pharmaceutical companies have convinced us that we should judge a vaccine based solely on its ability to prevent hospitalization.

Up until quite recently, they were still distributing the mRNA vaccines for the Alpha variant. I remember back when Delta was the dominant strain, protection against infection had already dropped to 39%, for one study. It's ludicrous the way we've been scammed. The vaccine mandates (here in Canada) were essentially compliance policy for mass consumption of a product that didn't really work by the time they came into effect.

The best protection remains physical (in terms of consistency; no matter strain or setting). Wear a mask and avoid big gatherings in poorly-ventilated spaces. I hate that I'm doing the same. It's tedious.
posted by constantinescharity at 4:18 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


How did the ultra wealthy; employers, corporations, sell us on the idea that we should go back to work and get sick?

Well, at least for me, the big selling point was continuing to have those delightful direct deposit transactions in my checking account twice a month.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:21 PM on December 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


(On second thought, I must concede that the quote that Green pulls about the CDC being pro-eugenics is pretty spicy. But it’s just spice. It doesn’t tie into any kind of program being run by the People’s CDC.

That's the point of the Lincoln thread. That article is pretty plainly not written in good faith.
posted by Gadarene at 4:26 PM on December 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


It is the most bizarre informational coup that pharmaceutical companies have convinced us that we should judge a vaccine based solely on its ability to prevent hospitalization.

I think we can all agree that preventing infection (which the initial vaccines did very well against Alpha, actually) is the most desirable goal. But, um, as someone with an elderly mother currently recuperating on my couch, I find preventing hospitalization (and its consequent, preventing deaths) to be pretty damned desirable, too.
posted by praemunire at 4:28 PM on December 29, 2022 [24 favorites]


I am extremely pro-vaccine and I think you should be too.
posted by ducky l'orange at 4:29 PM on December 29, 2022 [9 favorites]


How did the ultra wealthy; employers, corporations, sell us on the idea that we should go back to work and get sick?

Personally I was just trying to avoid being ground to a pulp slightly earlier than the rest of the drones.
posted by shenkerism at 4:31 PM on December 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


Constantine, I hate to break it to you but they probably know, mask or not. It's just not worth their while to tangle with you, especially if you're stealing perishable food.

Still, masking in public is good for your health so you might as well keep at it.
posted by kingdead at 4:32 PM on December 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


The NYer article starts from the premise that it’s absurd to accuse the CDC of being in cahoots with big business, and uses this to smear the activists being profiled as obviously deranged. But if we look at the cut-and-dry facts on the ground, it seems kind of obvious that the CDC, and governmental public health infrastructure in general, have been trading off lives against the profits of favored industrial sub segments (not even the economy as a whole!) for years now.

Why was there never a vaccine requirement for interstate flights? Why did the conservatives Green adores on SCOTUS go out of their way to prevent OSHA from mandating vaccines in workplaces? Why, despite a gasoline shortage, did the government never deviate from its push for return-to-the-office policies as essentially a bailout for commercial real estate? As far as I can tell a huge part of the push for a “return to normal” is the basically conservative desire to help entrenched interests recover costs that should be properly regarded as sunk from an aggregate point of view.
posted by rishabguha at 4:32 PM on December 29, 2022 [23 favorites]


I live in a relatively conservative area of NYS, and somewhat to my surprise, nobody has ever made a negative comment about the mask. That being said, I do regularly see senior citizens masked up. Maybe my gray hair gets me a pass?

I caught COVID from a student at the very end of last Spring semester. The symptoms lasted about five or six days (including one day when I was unable to move for several hours, which was rather concerning at the time...), but I wasn't capable of doing anything for another three weeks. (My body kept informing me that it was time to go to bed shortly after lunchtime.) If it had happened during the semester, my class would have been toast. I still mask up everywhere and do my best to avoid eating around other people. My parents--also vaxxed and boosted, both very strict about masking--came down with it in November, had Paxlovid, and recovered with astonishing speed. (Much to my shock, I didn't catch it again, despite close proximity to my mother for a couple of days before she tested positive.)
posted by thomas j wise at 4:34 PM on December 29, 2022 [4 favorites]


Apropos the post heading, no, normal people aren’t somehow “pro-covid.” Most people just acclimate to risk, like little prairie dogs poking their heads out saying “is this safe? Yeah? Well how about this?”.

They/we become habituated. If the threat remains fairly abstract on an intuitive level (and to most Americans, the threat of dying of covid does seem remote) people are just very very unlikely to maintain high vigilance over time. It’s not malice, it’s mediocrity.

My mother-in-law suffers from severe asthma and works as a public employee in a high-traffic location. During the height of lockdown she sent us masks and sanitizing wipes by the boxful, and begged us not to go grocery shopping more than once a month. Flash forward two years and she has a much more casual (perhaps fatalistic) attitude. She strongly prefers being back at work and she’s all but stopped wearing masks because they’re uncomfortable. (We wish she could just retire, but that’s not feasible right now and being angry about that doesn’t help).
posted by ducky l'orange at 4:45 PM on December 29, 2022 [14 favorites]


How did the ultra wealthy; employers, corporations, sell us on the idea that we should go back to work and get sick?

My partner works in higher-ed, and I work in an higher-ed adjacent family medicine clinic, so they close annually for ten days every December. This means we are privileged enough to not have to worry about calling in sick and losing income* since we got this thing. But my job is not a work from home job. If I still test positive by the end of the weekend, I can't go in and get paid. My partner can work from home. So everyone who lives paycheque to paycheque has to make pretty horrible decisions. If you've got COVID but can't afford to stay off sick, unless you've got a really sympathetic boss, you're likely fucked. This is what they have driven us to. Keeping the economy going, body count be damned.

*actually I was supposed to work yesterday, today and Saturday for special holiday clinics but I can't so I am out about $400; and if I miss work next week, that's another $400, and I don't have deep pockets.
posted by Kitteh at 4:53 PM on December 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


A bunch of people, primarily in Aotearoa New Zealand so far, have been sharing their stories about not being able to just live with Covid https://cantlivewithcovid.com.

I'm sure many of these experiences above would be good to see there too.
posted by many-things at 4:56 PM on December 29, 2022 [1 favorite]


I think it is acceptable for regular people to do whatever is recommended to them by the public health infrastructure. Regular folks shouldn’t be expected to make different decisions on their own. If public health authorities aren’t doing an adequate job, or are captured by industry, then that is a real problem. Other people that I would hold to a higher standard might include medical professionals, journalists writing about the topic, etc.
posted by snofoam at 4:58 PM on December 29, 2022 [7 favorites]


Oh boy.
Just like smokers, drivers, users of plastics etc, most folks who have stopped or never started Covid19 orecautions don't consciously seek to hurt themselves or others and many don't deny the hypothetic dangers of their activities - they just feel their unsafe behavior is normal and therefore ok and they compartmentalize the knowledge of the risk, its like folks living downstream of a dam not thinking about its risk of failure.
posted by anecdotal_grand_theory at 5:00 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]




There are however a small vocal and empowered group of politicaly and socialy influential folks wanted the public to get this, and we have memos from the trump admin cheering on the spread it through schools. Some of those folks labored under the impression that a " get it over with" no precaution strategy was bes for all, more of them thought their financial interest or ratings would benefit and didnt care about the public welfare. Others are opportunists who attack america for various reasons and this was one approach.

Lastly Americans hate americans. We have multiple mass shootings each week, we shot, stab and ram cars and beat each other at incredible high rates. Many americans who identify with their owners feel empowered to attack and kill store clerks for asking them to mask, or minorities for existing.

They have been weaponized by one political party to ensure we can't have nice things and to try to turn the country more oppressive, heirarchical and violent. They want to get the virus to show they are tough and its no big deal They want to give you the virus to harm and dominate you. Self defense is warrented and can not be provided by the police.
posted by anecdotal_grand_theory at 5:01 PM on December 29, 2022 [9 favorites]


Obviously spelling and grammer are hoaxes perpetuated by lizzard people to contaminate the purity of our precious bodily fluids. /s
posted by anecdotal_grand_theory at 5:03 PM on December 29, 2022 [6 favorites]


I am still masking up, and fully intend to go on doing so. My health is poor to start with (through no fault of my own), and I sure as shit won't be sacrificing what's left of it to pointless politico-cultural wars from the arse clowns of this world.

Normalisation cuts both ways. I think it is important there is at least a handful of masks being seen out and about. It probably helps prevent masking up from becoming too de-normalised.
posted by Pouteria at 5:52 PM on December 29, 2022 [13 favorites]


I will continue to wear a mask at all times in public.

Deal with it.
posted by freakazoid at 5:54 PM on December 29, 2022 [15 favorites]


I'm not mad at anyone because I do not have the energy for that. But we continue to mask in public indoor spaces and not dine out in indoors.
We are blah blah boostered and our toddlers have their series - but of course we have all the new tiny people URIs to watch for and we're pretty sure the whole family just spent the past 5 days with the flu shot attenuated flu (we were miserable but needed no doc, so hunkered down in the holiday freezing weather).
We hang with "trustworthy" fam and friends, testing beforehand, although knowing the that fallibility. But it's where we are choosing to put our biggest risk. We're lucky; my husband and I work from home and our kids are in a small family daycare. Others aren't. But we know we've stunted our kids too. They really hate masks so they've never been to the grocery store, for example.
We're always open to changing our choices and will be taking our first flight in April for family reasons, whether the kids keep their masks on or not (gulp).
posted by atomicstone at 6:08 PM on December 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


There are however a small vocal and empowered group of politicaly and socialy influential folks wanted the public to get this, and we have memos from the trump admin cheering on the spread it through schools.

Biden admins whole thing of “well there’s a vaccine! Pandemic over! We will take in no further information on this matter” can’t really eh said to be better by much, if at all.
posted by Artw at 6:11 PM on December 29, 2022 [10 favorites]


For a NYer article, the Green piece was ... remarkably fact-free, and it read to me as reporting he-said, she-said over subjective unknowables.

The first issue she presented was the CDC rec for 5 days of isolation. There's no lack of evidence regarding viral production timeliness. So why would she so carefully avoid those facts, instead of doing very basic reporting so that a reader could understand the issue better?

Because it's drama clickbait. Really disappointed in the NYer here.

DMelanogaster, I have a handful of colleagues who I eat lunch with, infrequently in an open atrium, when cases are low. I bring my lunchbox- sized personal HEPA filter, run it on high, and my piehole is never more than a foot away from it. Most often, I eat at my desk alone. We do not restaurant. When I've gone to social or work functions that feature food, I don't eat. I miss the drinking more than the eating, tbh.
posted by Dashy at 6:17 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


Not at all trying to be quibbly - but isn't what you describe an arm of long covid?

tiny frying pan, thank you for asking. Doing less physically is mostly my choice, following the advice of many people (nurses, public health officials, my primary care physician, plus folks with long COVID) to not push it. Overdoing physical activity (in my case, weightlifting and bicycling) could sap my body's ability to recover, and possibly help long COVID occur.

I think the range of experiences add to the estrangement here in our discussions.

I think that's right, and not just on MetaFilter.
posted by doctornemo at 6:34 PM on December 29, 2022 [5 favorites]


Fellow Indoor Maskers: what do you do at mealtimes? Do you live in a warm enough climate that when you have to eat with people you can do so outside?

I give in and eat inside with people, because I can no longer fight this battle, especially when it is very cold/pouring rain out, or very hot out, and literally everyone complains if you bring it up. I don't know how I've gotten this lucky so far on that topic. Once in a while I can talk people into outdoor dining if it's available and the weather isn't Too Hot or Too Cold. (I note I had to bow out on eating with the family today because of raining and I'm in covid limbo this week, and they won't eat outdoors in December anyway.) Sometimes I literally pick up food and walk over and open a door and eat at a door. Or you just don't eat or drink in public. The choices aren't great.

That said, I looked for Dashy's portable lunchbox HEPA filter on Amazon and just ordered one, which I'm very excited about.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:43 PM on December 29, 2022 [3 favorites]


Doctornemo, glad to hear it. Hoping for a fast and full recovery for you.
posted by tiny frying pan at 6:45 PM on December 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


The anti-mask attitudes described in these articles seem to be completely absent in my area (Seattle). I was a a doctor’s office today with a mask policy - I’d say about 20% of people I see in public are wearing masks - my most recent socializing with no family members has been mask-on by their request - I have eaten inside a restaurant exactly one time since February 2020, and that’s only because I and my companion were, literally, the only patrons in a large room. My kids continue to wear a mask at school and basically everywhere else they go because That’s what they’re used to now.

They want us to tell them we don't think they are immoral for not wearing masks.

I don’t. I’m happy with one-way masking. I am happy to mask if others request it. I am in the 1% or whatever that has not gotten covid and I’d like to stay that way. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to non-masking in public indoor settings. Why bother risking catching shit? Not just covid but influenza and anything else. It just doesn’t bother me enough to take it off.

Speaking of polio - polio virus is almost guaranteed to be in your community if you live in any urban area. You do the math: polio vaccine prevents only 80% of transmission. 70% of polio infections are asymptomatic and when there are symptoms they are gastrointestinal. The rest of the world uses a live oral polio vaccine that gives people a nice case of polio to spread around their community while protecting them from paralysis. Only 1 in 200 cases of polio in unvaccinated people results in paralysis. There was a case of paralysis in New York this year. Given the proportion of unvaccinated people in New York, how many cases of silent polio were circulating in the community? It’s the world’s grimmest word problem. Vaccinate your fucking children.
posted by bq at 7:16 PM on December 29, 2022 [8 favorites]


All of our Christmas plans got fucked by COVID exposure. I was dreading travel (I hate this holiday season) but I have to say this was not the out I was looking for.

The phase of the pandemic that we are in now is one in which most of my relationships have dried up because I'm afraid to ask for what I need. Even people who have previously been careful have started to take it very personally when I e.g. want to reschedule an unmasked gathering because they had a known exposure. I literally got the silent treatment from relatives over such a thing just this week. I have gotten used to many practical limitations over the past few years, but this aspect is so, so much harder than it was, and I see no hope for the future. Thank god for the three friends who are still on Team Swiss Cheese.
posted by eirias at 7:27 PM on December 29, 2022 [8 favorites]


Small message from South Africa, where we can't get n95 masks, paxlovid, or boosters. Or at home tests.

Hello! 🙂
posted by Zumbador at 7:32 PM on December 29, 2022 [30 favorites]


"Deal with it!" [youtube|BetterOffTed] [edit+: /s]
posted by porpoise at 7:53 PM on December 29, 2022


I too, am on my 3rd bout if covid, all durring the "getting back to normal!!!!" times---
Christmas 2021, July 2022, and Christmas 2022--
i am vaxxed to the max, otherwise healthy as a horse, and every time covid SUCKS. This time has sucked the worst. Strangely, it's day 15 and i feel worse than i did on day 10, and i have tested negative since day 8.

my own mask wearing had slipped over the summer and into the fall, because i'd forget to have one, and mask-free lifestyle is pretty normalized where i work.... but i've learned my lesson and shan't be so cavalier in the future.

i encourage anyone reading this to mask up out there, because its definitely still a pandemic! also masks are nice in the cold weather! They keep your face warm!

I truly hate the way the experience of covid has low key destroyed my faith in humanity and tarnished my optimism about the leadership of the CDC and the liberal politicians i dutifully vote for. The alternatives are surely worse, but the currently prevailing wisdom keeps making me sick, and i have a feeling a lot more people are gonna fall ill in the coming months.

stay safe out there, y'all.
posted by wowenthusiast at 7:57 PM on December 29, 2022 [10 favorites]


Ok, am I missing something, or was a post deleted?

https://www.metafilter.com/197752/Do-normal-people-want-to-get-give-SARS-CoV-2#8342205

If it was, apparently, I'm really curious as to why a meta-acknowledgement of this post had been removed.

edit: is "pile-on" something that no-one wants to deal with, any which way?
posted by porpoise at 8:00 PM on December 29, 2022


? That is the URL of the thread you are commenting in, is it not?
posted by aspersioncast at 8:35 PM on December 29, 2022 [2 favorites]


At any rate, here in DC I've not had anyone ever comment on my wearing a mask and feel like I would respond pretty poorly to that.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:37 PM on December 29, 2022 [1 favorite]



? That is the URL of the thread you are commenting in, is it not?


Long Covid fx
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 9:51 PM on December 29, 2022


When i moved from a dense north east suburb to a rural north west area.... i realized : there are still a few folks who resist seat belts and when I ride with them to a job site they always say " of you don't have to wear that its just a few minutes from hear". Likewise social tolerance for intoxicated driving was shocking.

People are not rational risk calculaing machines, they are habitual follow the crowd, follow the leader, don't change unless necessary etc.

Maybe some of us are able to mask desoite the harrassment because it got locked in as a positive thing and we are now in the habit. maybe some of us have less risk-fatigue (worry blindness) about the pandemic or are more persistsnt and sensitive worriers (as a progressive prepper that is how I see myself). ..Maybe we are virtue signaling and happen to have chosen as our pea-cock feathers a prosocisl healthy behavior instead of say, driving a sports car or wearing Ralph Lauren. I don't know. The vocal antimaskers who try to pull my mask off are like the pick up truck drivers who do the little fake lane swerve to run me into the shoulder. they are plague upon society.
posted by anecdotal_grand_theory at 12:37 AM on December 30, 2022 [5 favorites]


2 Thread PSA's

1) when folks say they havent had covid or only once etc. .They are actually saying they only had symptoms or a positive test result. Asymptomatic infections are real, are a sizeable portion of infections (1/3 ish if I recall). Unless you are in a biweekly testing regime or higher, you don't know how many times you got covid. Could be 0, could be 1-2. could be right now.

2nd) Depending how you split or lump causes of death, Covid is one of the most likely ways you will die, top 3 in most age groups and locations. As an american apparently if under 24 gunshot is one of the leading causes, and heart disease/cancer are leading too for most not youngsters.

There has been a spike in excess mortality from heart attack and stroke in younger than normal folks within 2 yr of covid infection. How real that statistical finding is and how it does relate to Covid as a disease or our covid lifestyles/stress is not yet known.

Global excess mortality seems to be running 2x covid mortality. (Johns Hopkins link here).

Homework: how does the risk of harm to a person vary based on the mildness of their symptoms, their vaccination status and their history of previous infections. We don't know.

Assuming that you are fine and safe because you feel fine now is a somatic illusion. You could have it (many do), you could spread it (n is way over 1) and you could have higher health risks or long term consequences from it.

Cars, guns, opiates, assholes... all are risky, but covid is just as dangerous. Even if it doesn't trigger our lizzard brains the way a bear does.


https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/leading-causes-of-death.htm
posted by anecdotal_grand_theory at 12:54 AM on December 30, 2022 [10 favorites]


Now many are growing up unable to read human emotion because they can't see faces as they are covered in masks. I imagine the sociopathy of the next generation is going to be next level.

They'll probably vote for things that benefit them and harm others, vote for things that don't even benefit them but at least harm others, refuse to cooperate with measures that inconvenience them and help others, drown out people they disagree with using lies and total nonsense because all they care about is winning, incite violence towards people who say or represent things they don't like, laugh at snowflakes who get hurt, take advantage of people who lack the money and power to fight back, do their best to enforce hierarchies where they are on top...

Anyway, "imagine" is accurate there.
posted by trig at 1:30 AM on December 30, 2022 [8 favorites]


> The anti-mask attitudes described in these articles seem to be completely absent in my area (Seattle).

Nah, that's where I've been given a hard time about wearing a mask twice in the past month. But I imagine it's worse in other parts of the country.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:12 AM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


The key to all this is right there in Emma Green's twitter bio (emphasis added): "Staff writer @newyorker. Writing on cultural conflicts in academia, keeping an eye on religion and politics." That's not a real beat. Her job description, as she chooses to present it to the world, is bullshit. If your entire job is to write culture war crap, if you're actively advertising how that's the lens through which you're choosing to see the world, you're choosing to let the worst bad-faith actors define everything you write..

How is it possibly informative to start with the "cultural conflict" as the premise instead of starting with a basic grasp of reality by asking "what's true, what's false, what's unknown, and how sure are we?" Isn't it your job to first figure out who in the conflict is even operating on the same plane of reality as the rest of us before diving into the conflict?

Green evades responsibility for the actual journalistic work of sorting out what is and isn't true about COVID and what we should do about it by elevating tone critiques over substance and policy. The point of the article never drifts too far from "gosh these people sure seem mad," when the actual work is in understanding and explaining the underlying problems they're mad about.

The actual interesting "cultural conflict" is the one among good faith actors who are wrestling with how to apply the current reality-based state of facts and uncertainty to different value systems and priorities and all that other messy human stuff. But the only way you get to that conflict is by doing the hard work first of investigating the state of the research and only then unpacking how people disagree on the applications of the science and the values those disagreements are rooted in. But that would require real depth, so why do that when you can just sneer at some cherry-picked examples of strident language?
posted by zachlipton at 3:47 AM on December 30, 2022 [26 favorites]


I’ve read a few “think” pieces around why we should all “go back to normal” and… I just shrug. I guess it’s easier to pretend we’re not in the middle of a global mass casualty and mass disabling event. And maybe that’s the crux of the whole “you’re wearing a mask to virtue signal and make me feel bad” knee jerk reaction that some people have… if we take a trauma informed approach to it, anyway. Yes, sorry. Me wearing a mask because I’d like, as much is within my control, to mitigate my risk of making myself or others sick, is reminding the unmasked someone that our world is frightening and unpredictable. Again, sorry. But if the unmasked someone gets to choose to not wear mask, I get to choose to wear one. How they emotionally react to that is a them problem, not a me problem.
posted by eekernohan at 5:31 AM on December 30, 2022 [14 favorites]


here in DC I've not had anyone ever comment on my wearing a mask

I live next to DC and spend a lot of time in the city, aspersioncast, and that's been my experience as well. In fact, the university where I teach has posters up asking people not to mock anyone wearing a mask.
posted by doctornemo at 6:35 AM on December 30, 2022


I guess it’s easier to pretend we’re not in the middle of a global mass casualty and mass disabling event.

What town didn't immediately erect a 9/11 memorial? There was an actual fucking piece of the wreckage that went on tours and was featured in parades and lots of fire stations, police departments, and town halls have either a flag that flew over ground zero or some chunk of metal on display.

And as terrible as that day was, we've just lived through several years when over a million Americans died solitary deaths on ventilators and apart from Biden's quite wonderful service on the eve of his inauguration (I still hold that up as the single greatest speech he's ever given) there's been absolutely nothing in the way of memorializing the pandemic. There was a bill sponsored by Warren and a few others to create a "Covid Memorial Day", but I don't think it's gone anywhere. The powers that be just don't want to acknowledge the trauma we've gone through. They just want us to get back to work.

There needs to be holiday. There need to be Covid memorial walls on every town common. There need to be statues of grocery workers and essential personal right next to the statues of soldiers. If we can't incorporate the pandemic into our collective history and set the record straight that the people who spoke out against masking, vaccinations, etc were FUCKING WRONG, then we're just going to be doomed for the next pandemic.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:37 AM on December 30, 2022 [14 favorites]


Given the lack of memorials for the 1918-1920 flu pandemic and relative obscurity of it prior to 2020, it's arguable that we've already made this mistake once. There were people then who refused to follow public health guidelines and deliberately exacerbated the suffering, too.

Let's not give them the opportunity to sweep this pandemic under the historical carpet.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 6:54 AM on December 30, 2022 [5 favorites]


That's not a real beat.

Thanks for calling that out, zachlipton, it helps me understand why I was reading about a culture war between sad, scared, weak progressives (with, in the Harmon piece, big emphasis on their 'courtesy titles'), and the mighty hale and hearty conservatives, that didn't look like anything I've seen in my own deep-red backyard.

Not only have I never heard of anyone in my circle down here receiving trouble over their individual mask-wearing, but who masks definitely doesn't follow that sort of cultural split. If anything, the split is more racial, with black people (especially the elderly) wearing masks far more often than white people.

I went to the hospital the other day to pick up some records, and I don't know why it surprised me, but hardly anyone was masked. There were masks you could grab at the entrances, but very few people seemed to take advantage of them. The records employee I worked with was also unmasked. And maybe this was just, y'know, the confidence in well-boosted people, among the employees, but the sick people and the visitors? That's not a culture war, that's a failure in leadership and messaging.
posted by mittens at 7:04 AM on December 30, 2022 [7 favorites]


The thing about 9/11 is that you could bomb a random country over it. Nobody is going to bomb China so that limits the appeal of doing any large scale patriotic racisms about it… not that various Republicans haven’t tried.
posted by Artw at 7:15 AM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


Covid Memorial Day is the first Monday of March.
posted by aniola at 8:36 AM on December 30, 2022 [5 favorites]


here in DC I've not had anyone ever comment on my wearing a mask

I live next to DC and spend a lot of time in the city, aspersioncast, and that's been my experience as well.

Hi neighbors! I’m always hesitant to say that’s been my experience because I’m superstitious but yeah. While wearing a mask, I went to a store nearby to talk with an unmasked sales associate about buying something and the associate asked if I would like him to put on a mask. Cheers!
posted by kat518 at 9:01 AM on December 30, 2022 [2 favorites]


Seattle folk also seem very good about just wearing a mask without fuss and bother if there is a mandate… but there isn’t, and so for the most part they don’t.
posted by Artw at 9:54 AM on December 30, 2022


apart from Biden's quite wonderful service on the eve of his inauguration (I still hold that up as the single greatest speech he's ever given) there's been absolutely nothing in the way of memorializing the pandemic

There was a huge memorial on the Mall.
posted by praemunire at 10:22 AM on December 30, 2022 [5 favorites]


"Covid Fries" just doesn't hit the same way...
posted by armacy at 10:39 AM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


Gonsalves weighs in on the NYer piece, too.
posted by girandole at 11:19 AM on December 30, 2022 [2 favorites]


A COVID memorial? I shared this proposal in September 2020.
posted by doctornemo at 12:25 PM on December 30, 2022


There was a huge memorial on the Mall.

And the sad thing is, if they do that temporary installation again they'll need at least 450,000 more flags than they had in Oct 2021. About 40% of all Covid deaths to date have happened since then.

The scale is just....unbelievable, but because dwelling on the pandemic is a political liability we're just content not thinking about it.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 2:13 PM on December 30, 2022 [5 favorites]


The thing about 9/11 is that you could bomb a random country over it. Nobody is going to bomb China so that limits the appeal of doing any large scale patriotic racisms about it… not that various Republicans haven’t tried.

I will note that while this policy may not be large scale, I'd count it as evidence that racism about disease is very much not a partisan thing. (It's also extraordinarily funny to me, given all the diplomatic pressure we applied to China to open up.)
posted by eirias at 2:36 PM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


Yeah, it’s basically a massive freakout about adopting… the exact same lack of policies the US has. And the testing isn’t going to do shit.
posted by Artw at 3:02 PM on December 30, 2022 [2 favorites]


I still wear a mask in indoor public places, which means I don't eat in restaurants. But I do go to the grocery store almost every day, where 10-20% are masked. I go to the gym at least twice a week where I'm usually the only masked person.

I'm in a liberal area and I'm a large white man, so no one has given me any shit, or even funny looks. But I have two responses ready if someone does ask me why I'm wearing a mask:
• It reminds me to keep my mouth shut and mind my own business.

I don't remembering asking you a goddamned thing.
Either is uttered with just a hint of menacing body language. But, again, I'm a large white man. YMMV.
posted by neuron at 3:06 PM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm a tall white woman, American accent, old enough that people presume I'm a supervisor at work; I believe it's why my younger, not-white coworkers, including the actual leads, decided I should be the one telling our patients they needed to wear masks. It's probably also why I haven't been given much shit for wearing masks even when I'm the only person in the room with one on.

(I got very good at loudly enforcing the mask policy. I was horrified recently to hear myself using that same tone, which I hoped I had left behind at the COVID site, to chastise a member of the public at my new, much friendlier job. Sorry, member of the public!)
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:12 PM on December 30, 2022 [2 favorites]


"Why are you still wearing that mask?"

"Do you know where I've been?"

"No?"

"That's why."
posted by delfin at 4:54 PM on December 30, 2022 [8 favorites]


I'm very strict about wearing a KN95 or better when indoors and not at home. Which has consequences for me that many here may not be aware of.
I came home crying the other day from Whole Foods. Once again, a cashier had misgendered me, repeatedly 'sir'ing me, and I was badly shaken. It was a wake up call for me that I'm having a really hard time coping with the impact of masking on my passability.
Prior to the pandemic, this never happened. I'm very fortunate that way, and as a result, misgendering just hadn't been a part of my post transition experience.
But now, wearing a heavy winter coat, at six feet tall, I find that covering half my face is just enough of a change to tip the scales against me on occasion, and it hurts. A lot.
I'm not alone in this. I found a paper studying the effects of masking on trans guys, and they have apparently been hit hard by misgendering in the time of COVID. Turns out that hiding their facial hair makes people assume they're women.
So I've realized I need to do something. Up my game. I'm switching to a pink or purple for my coat instead of my favorite spruce one...I already wear wine, purple, red, etc. for my KN95 masks. And I've kept my hair long for years. I can crank up the fundamental frequency on my voice... I suspect that people with hearing loss have a harder time hearing my (trained) resonance.
Best I can do, since I don't want to get sick, and I don't want to get others sick either.
So every once in a while, I figure I'll be coming home in tears, and wondering if some time, at a public bathroom, that will be the time someone confronts or hurts me.
Bottom line: masks have consequences for the trans community.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 4:59 PM on December 30, 2022 [14 favorites]


This week, I was up close and personal for a half hour of training with someone who told me he had a "sinus infection" who took his mask off and proceeded to snot into a Kleenex at the desk we were both using/computer we were both using. Guess what, he was wrong on that guess. But I had on a KN95 the whole time, (and sure as hell cleaned the desk the next day), and so far I am totally well and testing negative daily.

I feel like that story alone should probably be a good indicator of why you should have a mask on. Gee, maybe I should write that to the NYT :P At the very least, when I get told I was exposed and it was by someone with whom I was very close to but masked the entire time, I have a lot less worry about it as I wait in limbo.
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:19 PM on December 30, 2022 [6 favorites]


Thanks for that, Flight Hardware, I hadn't thought of this corner case. Do you wear eye makeup? I don't but I've wondered if I should start, not for gender reasons (I am more or less correctly gendered by others as a rule) but just to give my masked face more personality. (Of course since I don't know what I am doing I'd probably look like a seven year old got into mom's vanity.)

I see masks like I see vaccines: everyone who can, should, to give the edge cases who can't more breathing room. But that takes a degree of interpersonal trust that's just ... not here.
posted by eirias at 5:58 PM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


Do you wear eye makeup?
Only if you count eyebrows... I'm cursed with my mom's sparse eyebrows, so I do shape my brows. I've actually never tried eyeliner or shadow or mascara. I suspect the people who are misgendering me just see 'tall person in a coat', but I don't know the frequency of misgendering of women in masks who are tall.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 6:04 PM on December 30, 2022 [2 favorites]


I wear a P100 elastomeric (Drager 3500) for the most part. For thanksgiving had a Corsi-Rosenthal box running indoors, and ate the meal outdoors, distanced a bit from the family from outside the pod.
A sipmask valve can allow safe drinking without removing a mask.
posted by Sophont at 6:42 PM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


In fairness to the unmasked community around me, I too have had no hassles about masking so far.

But then I am also a largish, oldish, boringly dressed male, with a buzz cut, and a deep voice. I don't get hassled much when out and about. Not an obvious choice for an easy victim.

(Which is why I am happy to play my little part in keeping alive the grand old tradition of masking-in-public-during-a-pandemic.)
posted by Pouteria at 8:21 PM on December 30, 2022 [1 favorite]


Flight Hardware, that really sucks.

I am a tall, heavy cis woman with glasses and purple hair who dresses pretty gender-neutral (in cold weather, puffer, jeans, and sneakers, no eye makeup because: glasses). I've had people who know me misgender me when I'm masked (which is to say: all the time now) until they hear my voice and recognize me. Apparently I'm not femme enough even with the purple hair and multiple ear piercings to register as female without the signal of lip color.

It doesn't shake me, but you are not alone in being misgendered when you're masked.
posted by gentlyepigrams at 9:12 PM on December 30, 2022 [2 favorites]


I live in Georgia, USA and am immunocompromised. Few people here were wearing a mask a year ago in places it wasn't required, and now that it is required nowhere, I am often the only person wherever I go. I am not allowed to require masks in class, but I can ask. At the beginning of Spring 2021, I would offer unmasked students a mask, but the rejections quickly became so hostile that I've stopped doing that. If I can't get biology majors, many who claim to be pursuing a career in healthcare, to wear a mask or at least not be horribly rude about not masking, there's really no hope of asking anyone else around me. I have a colleague who still pressures his students into masking, but he is well over 6 feet tall and, as a male professor, allowed to be rude to students in a way I'm simply not. My "progressive" church went "mask optional", which quickly became mask hostile. At work, I eat lunch alone in my office. Outside of work, I mostly stay home or go running or hiking by myself. My world is much smaller than it was a year ago.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:14 AM on December 31, 2022 [26 favorites]


If I could make a fashion suggestion I own something like this coat, and wearing it means that a)people inevitably actually look at me instead of remaining on autopilot and b)universally delights.
posted by bq at 12:40 PM on December 31, 2022 [4 favorites]


Well, I think I need mod help to get the podcast in Fanfare, but if you've got 3 hours and the capacity to listen to all of the terrible USA COVID news over the last year: Death Panel: COVID year 3.
posted by curious nu at 3:29 PM on December 31, 2022


> I don't know the frequency of misgendering of women in masks who are tall.

I don't think it's happened to me any more frequently than it did pre-masks, but I don't wear makeup and have a strong jaw so the mask isn't really hiding any traditionally feminine attributes. (I'm a cis woman and I've gotten the occasional misgendering my entire life and don't really notice it any more.)

I'm about to find out just how good my beloved MaskLab masks are. On a nine-hour flight today three passengers in the row behind me were sick, sick, sick. One was a kid who coughed for six hours (this is not an exaggeration) and the other two were her adult guardians (grandparents?) who were passed out the entire flight, had problems getting off the plane, and were slumped on a bench by the gate when I walked by them. The kid's mask was frequently off her nose, and I found out later that one of my traveling companions had seen all three of them in the airport we departed from pulling their masks DOWN to cough. You know, to keep their masks clean. I wanted to walk up to them while they were on the bench and ask what they're sick with so I'd know what to look for, but couldn't think of a way to do it that wouldn't end with me attempting to strangle them. Wish me luck!
posted by The corpse in the library at 7:44 PM on December 31, 2022 [7 favorites]


Yikes corpse!

That's so shitty Flight Hardware, do not touch!

I've started adding a little eyeliner these days - the waxy kind that's a pencil or a mechanical pencil type - it's so waterproof the residual the next day is sometimes good enough. Subtle.

Not so subtle; foundation. Maybe some powder. But that gets smeared inside a mask. Yuk.

Just started wearing glasses again (sometimes), and consciously chose a frame coding more feminine.

Got a cosmetics sampler-thingy for myself last month, there are (hydrating) eye creams that have a bit of iridescence/ shimmer that lends a 'dewy' look, and it's applied above the mask-line.

A lot of athletic-/ athleisure-wear seems to be starting to be more colour coded by gender again. Maybe look to add trim along those colour trends?
posted by porpoise at 11:14 PM on December 31, 2022 [2 favorites]


> I suspect the people who are misgendering me just see 'tall person in a coat', but I don't know the frequency of misgendering of women in masks who are tall.

This is just anecdotal, but personally I've encountered many people who were masking, especially in cold weather, where I couldn't really tell their gender. If someone is wearing a bulky winter coat and a hat, where all you are seeing is from about eyebrows to top of nose, sometimes there aren't a lot of "traditional" or easy-to-place gender signals.

In my case it was nothing other than a "huh, that's interesting" observation since I have no need to know those people's genders and I don't ever use "sir" and "ma'am" in my speech. But lots of people do use those kinds of gendered words, and I can imagine how upsetting it would be to be misgendered repeatedly, People making gender assumptions based just on height are going to get it wrong a lot of times, especially.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:41 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]


Let's not give them the opportunity to sweep this pandemic under the historical carpet.

I’ve been trying to find the article I read on it sometime back (and have been unsuccessful), but the gist of it was that collective amnesia about pandemics is a real thing. It was something I read early on and kind of braced myself for. Even still, watching the collective forgetting unfold has been unsettling.
posted by eekernohan at 6:11 AM on January 2 [3 favorites]


OH SHIT, so sorry Flight Hardware I didn't catch the T***pian "sir" -ing.

Goddamn, that could be some shitty passive aggressive shit.

After the fact I think a misgendered "young man" or "miss" back might have been in order.
posted by porpoise at 11:44 PM on January 2


After the fact I think a misgendered "young man" or "miss" back might have been in order.
Oh, I must admit I daydream of doing that. But even correcting someone in the moment risks further outing myself, either to a speaker who may be completely oblivious to which gender they just pulled out of the Powerball jackpot, or worse yet, call the attention of others nearby who are more observant and likely didn't 'clock' (a terrible term that I don't have a replacement for) me.
I pretty much always go with defocusing past them and pretending nothing happened (similar to what I trained myself to do when my deadname gets called past me to someone else at Starbucks).

This last time, I must admit I decided, f-it, and corrected the speaker.

Anyway, fair bit of a derail on a really worthy thread. Back on topic, I've also found people have gotten much worse at simply *hearing* what people in masks are saying. Amazing how quickly that happened.
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 9:54 AM on January 6 [1 favorite]


Yes, there are probably some people with legitimate hearing problems that are exacerbated when they're listening to someone in a mask, but I don't think I've met them. My experience has been that people who wear masks have miraculously better hearing than the ones who don't.
(Also never found that I hear people less well when they're masked, and I did find, back at the beginning of the pandemic when I took the request seriously, that no one ever heard me better when I took my mask off outdoors, though they sure were happier.)
posted by trig at 10:33 AM on January 6


I don't have any hearing disability (as far as I know) but I have to admit I've had waaaay more issues hearing people in the last few years than ever before. Sometimes that's gotten me into a bit of trouble, particularly at immigration (in two different countries) where they don't take too kindly to anyone that doesn't immediately respond correctly to what they ask. It's manageable, and it's not gonna impact my decisions around when I do or don't mask, but I think there are at least some cases where hearing/communication challenges with masking can be considered in good faith. Obviously there have been plenty of people using that excuse in bad faith, too, I get that.
posted by mosst at 12:05 PM on January 6


Yeah, it's disingenuous to make the argument that masks don't somewhat impede interpersonal communications—both verbal and non-verbal. It's on a par with trying to convince someone that any discomfort they might feel from wearing a mask all day is merely a figment of their imagination.

The reason to mask up in public places is not that it's 100% hassle-free, but that it's effective.
posted by Atom Eyes at 1:29 PM on January 6 [1 favorite]


I'm not being disingenuous - like I said, it makes sense that it could be a problem for some people, but that has, again as I said, been the opposite of my personal experience, in both directions. And I'm blessed with neither a loud voice nor the strongest hearing, so it's something I've been paying attention to since the beginning.

Masks can make my ears hurt and fog up my glasses and steam up uncomfortably when it's hot or or very cold or I've been running, and they're easy to forget and are an annoying expense and garner lots of unpleasant looks and make me feel self-conscious. They're also ecologically disastrous. But the complaints about hearing have just not been my experience at all, while I've met a lot of people who seem to take it as an article of faith. I think even in good faith people often jump to the conclusion that they can't hear well because of the speaker's mask, while ignoring all the times they don't hear unmasked people clearly either.
posted by trig at 1:52 PM on January 6 [4 favorites]


think even in good faith people often jump to the conclusion that they can't hear well because of the speaker's mask,
Totally. To clarify, I think a fair bit of the trouble 'hearing' is that groups who have dropped masking have stopped trying. There's likely a large psychological component to the whole thing.
Regardless, there's a lot of pressure to unmask as a speaker in an unmasked group. I'd rather just do meetings online when I can, letting people see my face fully with a good mic
posted by Flight Hardware, do not touch at 9:46 AM on January 24


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