Christian, Please Wear a Face Mask: Part 1

"'Wearing a mask is for smug liberals. Refusing to is for reckless Republicans.' If only things were that simple; if only we could laugh off the debate as hyperbolic virtue signaling from both sides. Most likely by the time you read this, though, we will have tragically raced past the 100,000 mark in this country’s fatality count." - John Ellis

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T Howard's picture

Face masks have become a new shibboleth within the Christian community. If you wear one, you're a socialist liberal who hates freedom of religion. If you don't wear one, you don't love your neighbor and need to check your salvation.

Please.

Andrew K's picture

Mr. Ellis needs to calm down a bit, I think.

A few points here:

First, embracing conspiracy theories may be annoying, but it isn't actually a reflection on someone's intellect. I know we don't like to view it this way, but there are flat-earthers who are smarter than us. There are smart people who believe ridiculous things, so saying you have "no respect for their intellect" might make you feel better, but is likely wrongheaded. As for why smart people buy into them in the first place, well, it varies. But there are plenty of reasons we don't need to go into here for why the credibility of many of our institutions is shot.

With regard to this, "Bringing shame down on Christ’s Church in this country, it appears that much of the antimask, anti-social distancing crowd is made up of conservative evangelicals. That’s true from what I’ve seen online and heard from others, at least..." may I first note the lack of discretion in giving overdue credit to one's own perception (usually Twitter/FB formed) on such matters? I personally have a hard time believing all those beaches are crowded with exclusively Evangelical bodies. 

Furthermore, whenever people bring out the "Evangelical" punching bag, I always wonder how much of the opprobrium is really due to a religious as opposed to a demographic category. I understand it's frustrating when large swaths of your religion agree with their own demographic on socio-political issues over against you and your more educated, upper class friends, but is it really as surprising as is made out?

Finally, re. wearing a mask itself, I wear one, and I'm in favor of wearing them. But let's not pretend that wearing a mask is a no-risk activity in itself. I have a friend in China who has told me of a few deaths already, in her area, due to lack of oxygen from wearing a mask inappropriately/overlong. It's not just fringe-conspiracy theory that there can be potential problems from them.

At any rate, be a little patient with people. Do you really think that if any Christian knew they would be putting your health at risk, they would forego a mask? I don't. What you are lamenting is a loss of public trust in the experts. And as I mentioned earlier, that's something for which they have a share in the blame.

TylerR's picture

Editor

No.

Our congregation also met in person yesterday and engaged in congregational singing, despite dire warnings of evil droplets from TGC. We encouraged people to wear masks, if they wished.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

The logic is really very simple...

  • Mask is inexpensive, easy to wear, a minor inconvenience
  • The potential benefit: someone's life could be spared

Another, relatively minor benefit is that folks who need to be out and about who have good reason to be concerned for their wellbeing (John is one of them) can do so with greater ease of mind even if the masks don't really help.   ... though I think they do--some. Maybe a lot. It's not clear to me yet.

One counterargument that seems sensible to me: there are pathogens in the population all the time that are a special danger to those with certain preexisting health conditions. So are we going to wear masks all the time forever for their sake?

The counter-counter is that SARS-CoV-2 is, as the article emphasizes, new, and so much less is known about it. Closely related: the resulting disease is new and so much less is known about it.

I don't wear a mask all the time. Per the CDC recommendations (and the reasons they've given in various places), I do wear one if I'm going to be in places where contact closer than 6 ft is likely. So, generally at Walmart--though when I can, I go there during very off-peak hours and then it's really not a problem.

My mask experience: in our area, a few people look at you like you're some sort of weirdo. We've had 48 confirmed cases in our county and zero deaths, so a lot of the locals are still in something akin to "it's all a hoax" mode. ... and some have been told by the zealots they listen to that wearing a mask is "just liberal virtue signaling." So I get an odd look now and then. For the most part, not, though. 

In my area, just going by Walmart patterns, mask-wearing went from about 1/3 to about 3/4, then, after some politics happened here in WI, it went back close to 1/3 again (As though the politics have any relevance at all to the disease risk). Maybe, depending on the time of day, it's closer to 1/2. All the employees are masked, which I appreciate, so I'm trying to guesstimate the masked shoppers ratio. I think I see more young people masked than older people, but could be my imagination, just because I expected the opposite. Seems like more women masked than men, but that could be skewed as well... maybe there are more women in general at Walmart during the periods I generally go there (or maybe I just notice women more, all the time!).

Other downsides: mask is a bit too warm, now that the weather's warming. Since I wear glasses and the model I wear doesn't have a nose wire, I tape a wire strip (from coffee bag; they're perfect for that, cut in half) inside: this helps quite a bit with the glasses-fogging-up problem. Other than that, it's pretty comfortable.

So, total cost to me: a few odd looks, a bit of discomfort and inconvenience, and maybe $5 a month (mine are washable and reusable, but I don't know how long they'll last).

Potential benefit?  Well, it could save a life. If my example encourages a few more people, it could indireclty save more. If the disease finally reaches our rural county in earnest (I think this is probable, but yet future) it'll be one more thing I know I did to try to help. (Along with the more obvious basics.)

Bottom line: the tradeoffs are pretty obvious to me in situations where I'm close to people. If everyone did it, we might never see a serious COVID-19 surge in our area. So there's another benefit. Golden rule.

Edit: another downside - I like faces. I like occasional eye contact and smiling at people when I'm out doing stuff, though 90% of the time I'm in a problem-solving mental zone and people are kind of irrelevant. But the other 10%, I lilke faces. So I miss that sometimes.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

josh p's picture

I agree that the mask polarization is getting a little ridiculous. For me it’s not that inconvenient so I wear it. I doubt I’ll save a life by wearing it. We have had exactly the same amount of covid cases in my county for over a month. I will say that it is extremely hypocritical for Christians to refuse to wear a mask in a business where it’s required but then support a cake maker’s right to refuse a customer.

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I'm as guilty as anyone, probably, but our current political climate tends to nationalize everything... and we forget to check local regulations. 

My county actually recommends wearing masks in public. It's not a "law," and there is no enforcement. It's a "health advisory." But I thought it was interesting that in the context of a very relaxed approach to COVID-19 they specifically advocate for masks "in public." https://www.sccwi.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5861/St-Croix-County-Issues-He...

Josh, about "cake maker's right to refuse a customer," I think I agree with your overall point, but I don't accept the "refuse a customer" narrative on that case. He didn't refuse a "customer," he refused to make a specific product. I don't want to derail the topic in this thread, but the difference there is very important to me.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

Jonathan Charles's picture

1.  Some people don't buy that masks do anything. They were told at the outset that wearing mask would not help.  A few weeks later they were told to wear them. They believe that the change had nothing to do with keeping people safe but with making people feel safe.  I had to wear a mask to see an eye doctor, he wore one too.  He told me that the surgical masks we were wearing would not filter out the virus.  How much less the bandanas people are wearing as masks?

2.  Most of what has happened is out of people's control: restaurants closed, salons closed, playgrounds closed, gatherings limited. While there hasn't been much they could do about that, when states strongly encouraged wearing masks, it gave people who wanted to rebel something to rebel over.  Plus, some consider it American to stand up to government.

josh p's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

I'm as guilty as anyone, probably, but our current political climate tends to nationalize everything... and we forget to check local regulations. 

My county actually recommends wearing masks in public. It's not a "law," and there is no enforcement. It's a "health advisory." But I thought it was interesting that in the context of a very relaxed approach to COVID-19 they specifically advocate for masks "in public." https://www.sccwi.gov/DocumentCenter/View/5861/St-Croix-County-Issues-He...

Josh, about "cake maker's right to refuse a customer," I think I agree with your overall point, but I don't accept the "refuse a customer" narrative on that case. He didn't refuse a "customer," he refused to make a specific product. I don't want to derail the topic in this thread, but the difference there is very important to me.

 

Yes you're right. I worded it poorly. 

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

@josh Thanks for clarifying.

Did a bit more local mask-wearing field research today, because I needed to pick up an item at an area big box hardware store. I was surprised to find that they require masks for all shoppers. Probably a good thing, since the place was very busy and pretty crowded. So, the mask ratio there was 100%.

Nobody was making a fuss. A lot of people wore their masks pulled down over their chins until they were close to the entrance, then pulled them up. I didn't want to slow down to do that, so got it all regulation in the car first. Also the chin thing looks pretty comical. (My glasses-fogging prevention measures less effective today for some reason.)

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

About Face Masks

First the experts told us they would not help at all.  Then, they decided face masks were essential.  Seems the experts have changed their minds often these last several months.  As they have often over the years.  And, experts often disagree. 

It’s fine with me if people wear them or don’t wear them.  But I don’t especially want to. 

It’s debatable how much they help.  Of course, they probably help if they keep someone from sneezing on you.  But most are more careful with their sneezing.  Also, do you keep the mask on or pull it down for a sneeze? 

Many wearing masks soon pull them under their nose, then below their mouths, thereby rendering ineffective whatever help they may have been. 

It seems reasonable that anything that restricts the air flow in and out of your mouth or nose may not be good for you.  Breathing in your own carbon monoxide cannot be a good thing.  This may not matter much on limited occasions, but it could adversely affect you the more often and longer you wear a mask.  There could also be a problem with a mask being a breeding ground for bacteria. 

I can understand not shaking hands for a while, washing your hands often, and keeping a little social distance.  That is easy to understand. 

Common acceptance of face masks, however, have been a big help to robbers. 

David R. Brumbelow

pvawter's picture

Aaron Blumer wrote:

@josh Thanks for clarifying.

Did a bit more local mask-wearing field research today, because I needed to pick up an item at an area big box hardware store. I was surprised to find that they require masks for all shoppers. Probably a good thing, since the place was very busy and pretty crowded. So, the mask ratio there was 100%.

Nobody was making a fuss. A lot of people wore their masks pulled down over their chins until they were close to the entrance, then pulled them up. I didn't want to slow down to do that, so got it all regulation in the car first. Also the chin thing looks pretty comical. (My glasses-fogging prevention measures less effective today for some reason.)

I've been in two different big box hardware stores throughout the COVID crisis. One now requires masks (I believe they started this about 2 wks ago) and the other does not. Both stores have been wall to wall people since March, pretty much regardless of the day/time I visit. Doesn't make a big difference to me either way, although I do find it somewhat humorous to see people with masks in all sort of positions which compromise whatever benefit the masks may possibly provide. It does make people feel better, though. 

Bert Perry's picture

One thing to note regarding the debate over masks is that you've got two things convolved; the effectiveness of masks in reducing the spread of droplets containing the virus, and peoples' response to having something that will protect them.  If you're infected--and keep in mind that most of the time you won't know this if numbers are correct--most of your airflow goes off to the side and you're less likely to infect others.  If you're not infected, you're pulling in most of your air from the sides of the mask, and you increase the odds that a droplet will land harmlessly on your cheek or mask instead of proceeding to your mucous membranes where the virus can "take effect".

On the flip side, if you approach your face mask as if it's Kevlar body armor with ceramic plates, and take risks that you otherwise wouldn't take because by golly, you're wearing a face mask, then any benefits noted above are likely to disappear.

For my part, I am wearing one when required and when it seems like a good idea, but I'm also working hard to reduce the number of social interactions I get, and finally, remembering the hazards of social distancing (depression, etc..), I'm making a special effort to greet people who might be sorely feeling their isolation. One huge blessing of these masks, by the way, is that it brings out how we can communicate with our eyes.   It's a beautiful thing.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Or, maybe that’s carbon dioxide. :-) 

David R. Brumbelow

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

My approach to this has been to wear one only when I must.  I'm not making a stink if it's required, but I'm never wearing one voluntarily.  Although I'm sure some will see this as ungenerous, traditional approaches to diseases being particularly bad for some segment of the population have meant that those susceptible stay away, and the rest of us are kept away from them, rather than restricting the activities of everyone for the few.  As Aaron said, there are always some sort of pathogens out there that can be bad for someone.  Why don't we wear masks all the time then?

My state doesn't require masks most places.  My county does now in stores, so I've been driving down the road to do all my shopping in the neighboring county that doesn't require them.  I've yet to visit a store that has required masks on its own.  I've heard Costco requires it, but I haven't been there in a few weeks.  I'm now at work 1 week out of 4 (our company has divided into 4 groups, with 25% going to work each week).  To enter/exit the building or go anywhere except my office/cubicle, I have to wear a mask, but not in my own cubicle, so there I don't.  I've visited neighboring states that have less strict regulations than mine, visited some of my family, and enjoyed going out to a restaurant.  The staff wore masks, the clientele didn't, even just between the entrance and the tables.  I've been to the dentist in my home state, and I had to wear a mask from the front door until they worked on my teeth, and again in reverse on the way out, but I removed it as soon as I was out the door.

Our church has now met a couple times outside, with 6-foot distancing between family groups.  So far I've seen no masks whatsoever, even from those who work in health-care and have to wear them all week (and who should know if we're really doing something dumb by not wearing them).  If there were someone in our congregation who would come if everyone else would wear masks, I'm fairly certain our congregation would do everything we could to accommodate them during this situation, but so far, those at risk just continue to stay home, and have expressed no desire to come out.  I've been avoiding visiting my parents (in their 80's) or my sister (who has lung cancer), and we've done all our visiting virtually.  If someone in John's situation wanted to visit with me personally, or have me over, and needed me to wear a mask, I would.  However, I don't feel that my wearing one in public in general is going to help those who really should stay home because they are at risk, as even everyone wearing one will not guarantee their safety.

Just over two years ago, I went to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  Obviously, most of the attendees were Asian, and many of them wore masks, long before this outbreak. If I saw any non-Asians wearing masks, I don't remember them.  However, I saw no one getting upset that others weren't wearing them.  If those who wore them were more comfortable doing so, then it was fine.  It was one of the few times I've bothered to get a flu shot, since it was winter, and I was going to be around a lot of people, probably some of them with the flu, but neither my wife nor I deemed it necessary to wear masks to avoid whatever might go around in those large crowds (even though the previous SARS outbreak did make me think a bit).  However, at that same time two years ago, I also had a friend who was recovering from a bone marrow transplant, and couldn't do many things because of it.  He didn't expect *everyone* else to change their behavior to make it safe for him to go out.

I think most of us are just willing to take our own risks.  I suspect that, like myself, most Christians I know would happily wear masks in particular situations where it would really protect those at risk -- they just don't want to do so when it's not likely to make much, if any, difference.  The rest of the time, just as in the rest of life, we expect each individual to make whatever decisions he or she deems right to protect themselves and their families.  Getting upset at those of us who don't make the same choice has been standard in Christianity since its beginning.  However, we never should expect or require others to always make sacrifices for us because we may be at risk.  It's up to each one of us to do what we can for ourselves while being ready to make sacrifices for others when necessary.  Others going out of their way to love us is a great thing, but demanding it will get nowhere.

Dave Barnhart

JD Miller's picture

I wore a mask in Menards because it was required.  While using the find your receipt printout kiosk, a lady was waiting for me to finish up (they had disabled the one next to it since it was not 6 feet away).  I chatted with her and said that for all I knew, she was someone I knew but did not recognize because of the mask.  Her eyes showed laughter, but I could not see the rest of her face.  She then commented that people were not as friendly with the masks on.  I had not thought about it before that, but so many of our social cues are based on facial expressions.  One side effect of the masks is to social distance people emotionally in addition to physically.  That is a sad side effect.

The simple solution would be to just tell people to follow the science.  Sadly we do not know at this point what the best science is.  The experts are split on the benefits/liabilities of the wearing the masks even if the media is not.  

On a side note, some people have health problems where they should not wear a mask.  With my wife's asthma breathing becomes very difficult when she has the mask on.  She has already survived COVID-19, so she is not going to just stay home, but she avoids places where masks are required.  Costco has been great in this respect.  They require masks but have an exemption for those with health reasons for not wearing them.  

As Christians we need to show love for our neighbor, but we also have to be very careful about adding additional legalistic requirements.  This is not always a simple task.  This mask issue is one of them.  John's thoughts should not be ignored, but we also must consider the implications of emotional distancing in our considerations about love for those around us.  I do not yet see this as a black and white issue, but one of those gray areas that has arguments on both sides.

 

John E.'s picture

The science doesn't allow for this to be a gray area. 

Since I can tell by the comments that some didn't even read the article much less click on any of the links I provided to the research, I am posting a study that was published yesterday (you can find it below). The science is clear, wearing masks reduces the spread. Ergo, wearing masks combined with other measures allows for those who are high risk to rejoin the physical gatherings of churches. Refusing to do so communicates to those who are high risk that they are not worth the effort. I have heard this privately from several people who are high risk and who are deeply wounded by their church families' refusal to listen to and adhere to the science. 

https://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2020/05/27/science.abc6197

TylerR's picture

Editor

Science also tells me that it'd be safer if I rode my bicycle everywhere. It also tells me that my refusal to do so tells other people I'm fine with potentially killing them by losing control of my vehicle. It tells them they're not worth the effort. If I loved my neighbors, I'd be willing to make that sacrifice. So would you. If it saves just one life, it's worth it. What would Jesus do? He'd ride a bike.

My exasperation with this whole thing is not whether masks "save lives." It's whether the government response (local, state and federal) is appropriate to the threat. Why is this issue prompting such draconian edicts? We are we, as a society, willing to accept enormous risks in the course of everyday life, but we've decided that this issue is worth the nuclear option? Masks forever. Probably more lockdown in the Fall, etc.

Why? This is why I believe the entire approach is simply stupid.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Don Johnson's picture

John E. wrote:

The science doesn't allow for this to be a gray area. 

Since I can tell by the comments that some didn't even read the article much less click on any of the links I provided to the research, I am posting a study that was published yesterday (you can find it below).

John, that's not a study. It's a paper. It is full of "estimated," "could be," and "supposed" and the like. It really proves nothing. It does say that virii travel by aerosol. No mask will be effective against that unless it is an N95 mask. Cloth masks and even surgical masks will not stop aerosols. They might reduce droplets, but that is about it. If you are sneezing and coughing you shouldn't be out, period. Stay home.

But really, don't pass this paper off as a study. It just isn't one. They offer no evidence, no trials, no records of how many subjects involved. It's nothing. Doesn't say anything that wasn't already supposed any number of places elsewhere. It isn't a study.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

Quote:

But really, don't pass this paper off as a study. It just isn't one. They offer no evidence, no trials, no records of how many subjects involved. 

It is technically not a study, but I'm pretty sure it cites several. I haven't had a chance to click all the links, and it's not convenient on a phone... But one should check out the footnotes before dismissing it's value as evidence.

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Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

M. Osborne's picture

Based on what I saw in a recent jury trial, the linked article appears to be a meta-analysis where the authors didn't do the in-the-field legwork, but rather tried to identify the relevant field studies and then correlate and analyze the data and findings in a meaningful way. One of those meta-analyses was looking back at decades-old foundational studies, just like this article appears to cite studies done way back in the 30s.

(My jury trial pertained to diesel exhaust and benzene exposure for a railroad worker; there are studies within various industries and for various chemicals that were then correlated into meta-analyses that were themselves considered evidence in the trial.)

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Don Johnson's picture

No conclusions are drawn, it's all "could be" and "might be"

And again, though it links other works, it really cites no data.

From what I've been able to find (admittedly not an exhaustive search), there are very few studies on the effectiveness of lower grade masks (i.e. cloth or even surgical). The results that I have seen are inconclusive, although the cloth masks seem to be next to useless from what little I could gather. They may catch some droplets if you cough but will not have much effect on aerosol distribution.

Anyway, you can generally find competing studies with opposite conclusions. Science is rarely settled, it seems.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Here's the recommendation for masks, direct from the WHO website.  The first item on the list is particularly interesting:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-f...

When and how to wear medical masks to protect against coronavirus?

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

Dave Barnhart

Larry's picture

Moderator

Here's the recommendation for masks, direct from the WHO website.  The first item on the list is particularly interesting:

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-f...(link is external)

When and how to wear medical masks to protect against coronavirus?

If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.

As one of my friends on Facebook said, conservatives will suddenly start liking the WHO again.

JD Miller's picture

To further complicate the matter, the study John sited that supported mask use, but was said to not support mask use has conflicting statements in it.   That is one of the reasons why people say that the science is not settled.  In other words, the scientific study has evidence in it that can go either way, but then comes to a definitive conclusion at the end.  These sorts of studies if read in their entirety only make people more skeptical of conclusion based on science.   

I am actually surprised how few people actually understand some of the basics of science.  For example, a few years ago we went to a children's science fair and only a couple of the students even had a control for their projects.  It was a great teaching opportunity for our kids.  A few months ago, I read a news article on hydroxiclorqine.  It told that it was no more effective than traditional treatment in the headline.  Upon reading the article we found that the "traditional treatment" they were comparing it to was a new drug that had also shown promise as a new treatment.  In other words, they were comparing 2 potential treatments with no control group and calling it a definite scientific conclusion.  (a true control in this situation would have been to give no drugs).  The point is that coming to definite scientific conclusions is not as simple as many make it out to be.

We as Christians need to be careful about shaming one another over "science."  Sadly it seems to have become somewhat of a trend recently.  

Aaron Blumer's picture

EditorAdmin

I don't expect "definitive" research on this until long after it's too late to matter. What we have, though, is a need for inductive reasoning and a best-judgment estimate of probability.

It's pretty clear that masks have helped slow the spread of other viruses in the past. It's improbable that SARS-CoV-2 is different, though not impossible.

But the research is really all in the "testing to see if common sense is accurate" category, because the common sense is obvious on this. It's like hand washing... low-cost, high potential benefit. If the benefit is not 100% certain, so what?

So I go back to the simple reasoning of my earlier comment, with some refinements...

  • Cost of wearing a mask where a lot of people are gathered: negligible
  • Potential benefit of wearing a mask in these places: enormous

Revisiting my real world field research

As COVID cases are rising steeply in our county, everyone is relaxing more on the mask front. Human nature. We are idiots. In their defense, it's possible that testing is increasing here also, I'm pretty sure. But I haven't yet found data to compare the increased testing rate locally to the increased confirmed infection rate. I suspect we've been pretty steady on the testing rate through May, but in that same period confirmed cases have not exactly spiked, but are up sharply.

The company I work for is rolling out its back-to-the-office plan. A lot of work and thought went into it. Very cautious. [details removed]

Both businesses and churches have to think about the liability risks of gathering in physical spaces.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Office rules like that are why I plan to work from home indefinitely until people are allowed to act like people again. Ridiculous.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Larry wrote:

If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with COVID-19.

As one of my friends on Facebook said, conservatives will suddenly start liking the WHO again.

I posted this not to put the WHO up against the CDC (apparently, they disagree on this right now), or to point out that one is right and one is wrong, but to note that this issue is hardly as cut and dried as people want to make it.  It's just as easy to say "the science is not settled" as "the science is settled," but in this case, we have competing supposedly competent authorities.  Which should be believed by those of us who are not epidemiologists?

My personal policy is a little different from Aaron's, but not altogether dissimilar.  I wear a mask when required, and I would do so voluntarily around people who are at risk (if I needed to see them personally at all).  I don't know anyone with Covid, so that doesn't directly apply.  In public where most aren't wearing them anyway, I'm willing to take my own risks as someone who is healthy and not coughing or sneezing.  That behavior has been the same since the beginning of the epidemic, and hasn't changed simply due to new headlines.

Dave Barnhart

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

Aaron Blumer wrote:

The company I work for is rolling out its back-to-the-office plan. A lot of work and thought went into it. Very cautious. Lots of cleaning. 50% occupancy at a time in separate teams, with 4 days in office followed by 10 out. Includes wearing masks around the office when not in our cubes/individual work spaces.

As I mentioned above, my company's policy is very similar.  We are, however, only at 25% capacity (everyone works one week out of 4), and like you, I'm required to wear a mask when not at my desk.  We also get our temperature taken upon entrance to the office.  It seems a little much, but that's the way things are right now.  Unlike Tyler, I don't have the option to always work from home.  On the weeks that each of the four groups is in the office, we are expected to be there, not at home (obviously not if we are sick or have been around those with Covid).

Quote:

Both businesses and churches have to think about the liability risks of gathering in physical spaces.

Whatever my personal feelings on masks, as part of my church's leadership, we are having to carefully evaluate moving back into our building.  We have a few people who are comfortable with our outdoor worship services who aren't yet ready to come if we meet inside.  Once we do meet inside, our facility is large enough to hold our entire congregation even if we distance families.  However, there's still cleaning and other items to consider.  There will be many things to think about over the coming weeks.  We have people who don't want to come back yet at all, and those who think we should never have closed.  We won't be able to make everyone happy, we'll just have to do the best we can (and yes, that includes thinking about legal liability).

 

Dave Barnhart

Larry's picture

Moderator

Dave, My point on the WHO was the humor of the conservatives who have hated the WHO and wanting to defund them now liking the WHO becuase of this.

JD Miller's picture

I am imagining Abbot and Costello joining this conversation.

Abbot:  WHO is saying not to wear a mask.

Costello:  I don't know who is saying not to wear a mask, but Dr. Fouchy now says we should wear one.

Abbot:  No, WHO says we should wear one and so did Dr. Fouchy before he said not to.

Costello:  So now Fouchy says we shouldn't wear two masks?  But who says we don't need to wear one mask?

Abbot:  WHO says we don't need to wear a mask and Fouchy says we only need to wear one.

Costello:  I know Fouchy said we need to wear one, but he also said we don't need to wear one so does that mean he is the one that said we don't need to wear one?

Abbot:  No, WHO says we don't need to wear one.

Costello:  We know who says we don't need to wear one.  It was Dr Fouchy.  

Abbot:  No, Dr. Fouchy says we do need to wear one.  WHO says we do not need to wear one.  

Costello:  So is it 2 masks or 2 people saying we don't need to wear one?  So who is the other guy?

Abbot:  There is no other guy.  It is the WHO.

Costello:  I didn't know Pete Townshend was still alive.  

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