As part of his interview with Sean Hannity, Donald Trump had good news for America. The COVID-19 pandemic is “dying out.” In fact, it’s going away so completely that Trump doesn’t even feel the need to discuss progress on vaccines. “[…] because it’s fading away,” said Trump. “It’s going to fade away.” And in another interview in what seems to be Trump’s big day of wacky interviews, Trump declared not just that COVID-19 is “dying out,” but that ”the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was.”
When it came to the subject of masks, Trump said he was going to make masks available for those attending his indoor rally on Saturday, but he certainly won’t be wearing one. In fact, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that masks make people more likely to get infected. That’s right. According to Dr. Trump, people fiddle with their masks, making them more likely to get infected. Even worse, says Trump, people are wearing masks … just to piss him off.
The World Health Organization found that when both people in an encounter wear masks, it can reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by 85%. But those researchers clearly were not as observant as Trump. “They put their finger on the mask, and they take them off, and then they start touching their eyes and touching their nose and their mouth,” said Trump. “And then they don’t know how they caught it?”
But that’s not Trump’s primary reason for scowling at anyone who wears a mask. In addition to saying that masks were “overrated,” Trump said that “some Americans wore facial coverings not as a preventive measure but as a way to signal disapproval of him.” Which would seem to make it unlikely that many of those in Tulsa will be taking Trump up on that offer of a free mask. Maybe they’ll be emblazoned with: “Wear this as a way to signal disapproval of me.” Instant collector items.
But as Trump keeps up his perfect record for being against everything that might possibly help, others are recognizing that masks provide real and immediate benefit. In Arizona, where Gov. Doug Ducey had issued an earlier order preventing cities and counties from requiring the wearing of masks, a rising tide of hospitalizations was enough to get the Republican governor to backtrack. And within hours of Ducey giving the go-ahead, cities across the state were considering a mask mandate.
And in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a statewide requirement that was already in place in many locations. As The Sacramento Bee reports, Newsom is requiring that Californians wear a facial covering in all “indoor public spaces.” That includes taxis and public transit. It also includes wearing a mask when standing in line outside a store or other facility waiting to enter. And it includes people working on buildings, even if no one else is around. And people in any area where food is prepared. Just … if you’re not at home, wear a mask.
Which is a good rule for everyone, no matter what state they might be in. Wear a mask because it preserves your health. Wear a mask because it protects others. Wear a mask because it sends a signal that you care.
Wear a mask because it makes Donald Trump think you don’t like him. And really, that might be the best reason of all. (No, really it’s the 85% reduction in transmission. The metaphorical middle finger to Trump is just a bonus.)
While other governors may be seeing the light of reason, the Omaha World-Herald reports that Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has decided to score one for death and ignorance. Ricketts has warned local governments that if they pass mandatory mask wearing, he’ll skip them over when it comes to handing out any of the $100 million in federal COVID-19 funds given to the state.
Take that, people who want to live.