The Runback: Mixed Messages Make Muddled Messes

None of the Messaging on Masks and Vaccines Makes Any Sense

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If you’ve been following The Duckpin from day one, you know that I didn’t have a lot of time for people complaining about masks mandates in the pre-vaccine days. I have always believed that in a public health emergency that the state can mandate the wearing of a mask in public places. That’s not say that I agreed with every mandate that was put in place; I didn’t. But I think a lot of the folks whining about wearing a mask were whining for the sake of whining.

Now however, we live in a world where the COVID-19 vaccine is abundant. A lot of people have been vaccinated. Yet, numbers are still on the rise in some places due to the very contagious Delta Variant. Florida, for example, had the highest single-day number of new cases since the start of the entire pandemic last week.

The number of new cases is, bluntly, not good.

That has sparked off a bunch of talk about bringing masks back, starting with Dr. Anthony Fauci:

Fauci, who has clashed publicly with DeSantis, told CBS’s Face the Nation the wearing of masks to combat surging rates of Covid-19 was a “responsibility to society” and that data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics supported masks in schools.

“You understand people feeling that they have the individual right to make their own decisions, and I respect that for sure, but the issue is, if you’re going to be part of the transmission chain to someone else, then your decision is impacting someone else,” Fauci said.

And that’s where I have a problem.

Before I was fully vaccinated in April, I used to joke about how much I wanted to get the shot. I said “don’t ask me what I would do for a Klondike Bar, ask me what I’d do to get the vaccine.” So yes, the adults in my family are all fully vaccinated. That protects me from the original virus and, as the science has shown us, the Delta Variant.

Fauci says that “my decision to wear a mask is “impacting somebody else.” That may be true. However, I also decided to get vaccinating. The person around me who may not be vaccinated made a conscious decision at this point not to get vaccinated, especially if they are over the age of 12.

Personally, I think that anybody eligible to get the vaccine and hasn’t gotten it to date is a damn fool. Ergo, it is not my responsibility if they get sick with the Delta Variant; it’s their own fault for not protecting their health and getting vaccinated.

One person who has stayed on message, ironically enough? President Joe Biden:

Telling vaccinated people that they have to wear masks, despite the fact that one of the appeals of getting vaccinated was not having to wear a mask anymore, creates confusion and will create doubts with the vaccines themselves. It muddles the message about both mask and vaccines. That will have a long tail.

Having politicians implement new mask mandates and then immediately violate them, like D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser did, isn’t going to help.

Neither is saying publicly that “things are going to get worse” despite the fact that things for vaccinated people, to date, have been pretty good.

We need a coherent message on masks and the pandemic. Telling vaccinated people they need to wear masks to protect the vaccinated is far from coherent and creates mixed messages about the entire public health response to the pandemic. End the charade and make people realize how important getting vaccinated is to their own health.