Editorial: To mask or not to mask? That is the question

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Volunteers hand out masks at an event in Morenci.

Column By Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin

People are adjusting and adapting protective masks to fit every occasion. Creative humans are experimenting and taking mask-wearing to an advanced level.

Diners were spotted wearing masks with zippers. Unzip, stuff food in your pie-hole, chew, and rezip. 

Recreational cannabis users are cutting small holes in their masks and sewing on buttons. Insert the end of a bong and puff away. Button up when done getting high.

Billionaires are dipping their masks in gold. However, the heaviness is causing droopy cheeks and neck spasms. It’s a dilemma for the Kardashian divas. 

Liberals are wearing double masks while conservatives are wearing invisible masks. Which is more politically correct?

Product advertising is being considered for the front of masks. What a way to capitalize on the pandemic! 

Gucci, Armani, Bulgari, and Prada are making stylish face coverings for the trendy crowd. Celebrities want to be vogueish while others are dying from COVID-19. Of course, companies take a tax write-off when they donate masks. 

“The requiring of masks and facial coverings has become a hot button nationally. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends them as a way to prevent the spread of the virus, but some consider mask mandates as a violation against their constitutional rights,” according to a recent article in USA Today.

Mandated masks in several areas are being required due to a COVID-19 resurgence. Consumers with a valid medical condition will not have to wear them. Is an outbreak on the lips due to the herpes simplex virus (also known as HSV) a valid infection exception? Masks can rub cold sores and fever blisters the wrong way.

“Cloth face coverings should not be worn by children under the age of 2 or anyone who has trouble breathing, is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance,” according to the CDC website. 

So, if you come across an unconscious or incapacitated person should you pluck the mask from his/her face before you call 911? If you come across a conscious person at the grocery store not wearing a mask should you shame him/her or call the mask patrol? 

Why can’t a scientist invent a lip balm or lipstick that kills the virus in respiratory droplets before spit hits the fan? And what about a virus-stopping cream to stick up both nostrils? No more masks. 

What about making public coughing, sneezing, and blowing of the nose felony offenses with or without a mask? Threaten American citizens with fines and jail. Saliva (includes drool, dribble, slobber) and snot are found to be enemies of the state. Therefore, these bodily functions will be arrested.

An article published in The Lancet on June 1, reviewed a meta-analysis of 172 studies and found that wearing a mask reduces the risk of viral transmission. But read on for the rest of the story. An article for NPR quoted Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, as saying, “Now, most of the studies in the analysis looked at face mask use in health care, not community settings. And they were observational, not the gold standard of science, a randomized controlled trial, which would be “very unethical in a pandemic.”

Will the real information about COVID-19, please stand up? Put all the political players on, To Tell the Truth; an American television panel game. One contestant is sworn to tell the truth about masks while the others are not. The ratings would skyrocket. 

Yes, this column is meant to be sarcastic, humorous, and witty. And yes, I cover my face inside public places.

Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, columnist, educator, and therapist. She lives in Ohio.

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