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Are masks for health, for respect, or for show? Who knows?

In a Staten Island grocery store this week, a handful of masked shoppers mercilessly berated a woman, including at least one person hurling expletives at her, for not wearing a mask. The small mob subsequently drove her from the store.   

A video of the incident posted on Twitter had garnered nearly 117,000 likes as of Friday, indicating significant support for their very public condemnation of her. 

It also was a vivid example of how mask-wearing has shifted from a protective step against COVID-19 to a new front in America’s culture war — arguably a conflict rooted in our own health officials’ conflicted thinking about masks during the pandemic.

To illustrate where we stand with mask-wearing, we can see on one hand the hyperventilating reaction to President Donald Trump’s refusal to wear one in public, such as while visiting a Ford plant in Michigan last week. On the other hand, look to Elgin, Texas, where Kevin Smith, owner of the Liberty Tree Tavern, is “turning away customers who wear a mask in the establishment,” according to CBS News this week.

Part of the reason for this divide is media coverage that has convinced people that COVID-19 lurks everywhere waiting to kill them. The fear created by that is so high that people are actually dying from unrelated health conditions, such as heart attacks or strokes, because they refuse to go to hospitals, ironically, for fear of contracting coronavirus.

But the mask argument also stems from comments by our experts.

In an early March interview with “60 Minutes,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, cautioned against widespread usage of masks because that could deplete the stock available for health care workers and first-responders. “There’s no reason to be walking around with a mask,” Fauci said, according to a CBS transcript of the interview. Moreover, “While masks may block some droplets, Fauci said, they do not provide the level of protection people think they do. Wearing a mask may also have unintended consequences: People who wear masks tend to touch their face more often to adjust them, which can spread germs from their hands,” CBS reported.

At the end of March, The New York Times reported, “Both the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have repeatedly said that ordinary citizens do not need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing.”

Yet in early April the experts had second thoughts. Believing they better understood how the virus wes transmitted, the CDC posted on its website, “In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.”

“It is critical to emphasize that maintaining 6-feet social distancing remains important to slowing the spread of the virus,” the CDC added. “CDC is additionally advising the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Cloth face coverings fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials at low cost can be used as an additional, voluntary public health measure.”

Now, we’ve shifted again — sort of.

In an interview on Wednesday, Fauci explained his thoughts about wearing a mask to CNN: “I want to protect myself and protect others, and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that’s the kind of thing you should be doing.”

Dr. Fauci acknowledged that masks “aren’t 100% effective,” but wearing one does show others that you care.

“It’s sort of respect for another person and have that other person respect you,” Fauci said. “You wear a mask, they wear a mask, you protect each other.”

So is mask-wearing for health or for show? Confused? It’s understandable.   

Scroll down to comment!


  1. Sandy Miller May 31, 2020

    Those vipers would not have ran me out of the store.

  2. Jerry Marcantel May 31, 2020

    Wearing a mask is a joke for the general public. It has depleted the supply of masks needed for industry where workers really do need them to maintain the amount of hazardous dust particles entering the lungs. I’m down to having one mask left for my woodworking, and can’t even get 3m to give me a date that they will have the model 8511 N95 masks available for others that need them.

  3. Joey May 31, 2020

    The mask is NOT for health, respect or show, the mask has clearly become a symbol of compliance, submission, ignorance and cowardice.

  4. Linda Bonaccorsi May 31, 2020

    If accurate data was actually being used, people would not be in such a state of hysteria. Our bodies weren’t intended to breathe in carbon dioxide. Our bodies also need to be exposed to germs and pathogens to increase our immune systems. While there are clearly people who need to take extra measures to be safe, weakening the immune systems of an entire society is incredibly dangerous, and wearing a mask, when your healthy, is actually bad for you. Where is the respect for that?

  5. Leah May 31, 2020

    I completely agree.
    And there is no excuse for berating and even going to the extreme of cursing someone, for not wearing masks. Just like the looters and vandals all around the country now pretending to be so angry and heartbroken over the death of the man in Minneapolis, this is not grief acting, this is those people showing just who and what they are, and any excuse is as good as another to demonstrate it. Someone can pretend all they want that it is disrespectful for another to not be wearing a mask, but it is the epitome of disrespect and lack of empathy to yell at and use profanity towards someone. Our country needs to wake up.

  6. Kurt Bechle May 31, 2020

    The mask is a symbol of your submission to the state.

  7. Greg Welu May 31, 2020

    I agree and have all along. The mask is fear as stated earlier and submission to the state. Those who give up freedom for security deserve neither!

  8. 1PatriotForever May 31, 2020

    It’s your choice if you wear a mask or don’t.
    If you don’t have it, they aren’t going to get it.
    If they wear a mask they won’t probably get it all though there is no guarantees.
    Americans not Venezuelans have a CHOICE and it’s our civil rights as they support women killing babies in the womb, we have a right to wear a mask or ot and it’s up to you not me to protect yourself.

  9. BJ May 31, 2020

    Wearing a mask is a load of horse crap. If you’re sick, but went on. If you’re well there is no need for one. Forced submission into mask-wearing is a fear factor prop agenda tactic. If you can breathe through it, you can get the virus.

  10. Derek Phelps May 31, 2020

    ?. So few of US Reasonable folks out there. I have felt ( no, KNEW) from the FIRST that this Covidfarce is nothing more than a Test of how EASILY that people can be confined….. reminds me of those railroad cars and those “trips” for the Jews and others in WW2.

  11. BJ May 31, 2020

    I absolutely hate autocorrect. Why won’t you allow me to edit my comment?

  12. Darlene Hicks May 31, 2020

    Wearing masks is a joke , I work with special needs adults and they play with their masks they are pulling them off and on and the mask is wet not long after they put them on and when they take them off they lay them everywhere ie tabke dink etc We now by science that the mask is only one percent effective . They should be a choice , not a demand !!!!

  13. Donna Sheehan May 31, 2020

    As medical studies stated, it’s not to prevent infectious diseases. It’s compliance and control over the people!!

  14. Paul May 31, 2020

    Wearing a mask is equivalent ti the Sieg Heil salute of the Nazis

  15. Charles H Stotler May 31, 2020

    Haven’t worn a mask through this whole fraud pandemic and I will not wear a mask.

  16. Bothered Bob May 31, 2020

    So the mask-wearers are afraid of one woman who wasn’t wearing a mask? What are they afraid of when they’re wearing masks? Oh. It’s not about “afraid,” is it? It’s all about compliance now, isn’t it? Why didn’t they riot, loot and burn the store down for allowing her inside to shop? Seems they missed a great opportunity there. They could have played the race card. . .or is that only used in the case of thug policemen who should have been tossed out of the force but weren’t? More examples of New York “righteousness” in the Wuhan coronavirus capital of the United States because the governor of the state and mayor of the city failed to stop flights into the city from Europe, thereby importing hundreds of virus-carriers to infect their population.

    Oh. And it’s probably that racist Trump’s fault for stopping flights into the country from China, after which Nasty Nancy Pelosi, poster child for TDS, launched a “hug a Chinese person” to show acceptance after the flights from China were banned. Yup. It all looks like Trump’s fault.

  17. Gary Hull May 31, 2020

    What are the real numbers that don’t account. Most of us believe death totals are ridiculously overstated.

  18. Linda May 31, 2020

    I agree with Joey, Kurt and bothered Bob!

  19. FRANK SALERNO May 31, 2020


  20. cheryl ann M Ray May 31, 2020

    Amen well said

  21. Anonymous May 31, 2020

    the mask has clearly become a symbol of compliance, submission, ignorance and cowardice.

  22. Galtha58 May 31, 2020

    Look up the size of the corona virus. Largest size is around 0.125 microns. The N95 mask that is supposed to be one of the best filters out particles larger than 0.3 microns. Based on those figures it looks to me like the virus would go through the N95 mask similar to a gnat going through a tennis racket. The virus wouldn’t even know that mask was there. The only mask that appears to have a good chance of blocking the virus appears to be a surgical mask with a USA: ASTM F2100 standard certification. But nobody is buying, recommending or wearing those. The handkerchiefs and homemade masks will be even less likely to stop or slow down the virus. So why are we being told to wear masks?

  23. Dale McNamee May 31, 2020

    The WHO is now saying that masks don’t need to be worn unless you are taking care of people who are sick with COVID-19 ?…

    The were the biggest “cheerleader” for wearing masks… Ineffective masks at that !

    The messages about complicity and obedience sounds like that comes from Red China !

    When did Red China become a country that we should emulate ?

  24. Terry June 1, 2020

    I show others I care by not wearing one – I care not to promote the total over-reaction and silliness that has happened. I care that we are killing people by killing the economy, making hospitals a place of fear, and making people complacent when a real epidemic happens.

  25. John June 1, 2020

    I have one, which was given to me today by a staff member at a hotel I’m staying in for business, but I haven’t worn one and am not sure if I will. Not out of fear would I wear one, but for the reasons stated in the article, which I’m glad somebody finally talked about. The numbers are continually being revised per State and 0.26 compared to 3 or 4 is a significant example of a significantly lower risk having been acknowledged, not to mention that reliable anti-body testing would downgrade it even further, in my opinion.

  26. JULIE GREWE June 1, 2020


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