Since there is a problem on the left of only reading what they want to read, let me clear this up in the beginning: masks are not mask mandates. That second word, MANDATES is the issue. On the off chance someone reads this, I just want to be sure it’s hard to misunderstand the point.

First, let’s look at masks. It is true that cloth masks cannot block a virus 50–200 nanometres across. No way to argue that. Second, the virus continues to spread despite masks. No disputing that either. But masks still work to slow the spread. How, if they cannot block the SARS-CoV-2 virus, a 50–200 nanometre particle?

Well, because when viruses spread through an aerosol vector, it isn’t just raw virus particles. They are suspended in water droplets. And those can be caught in cloth masks. Especially the properly made dual-layer ones. Studies show that, even in a closed space, mask use can reduce spread up to 70%. That is not an insignificant number, and worth remembering.

The other thing that gets missed by those decrying the very concept of masks is that the mask is not, and has never been, intended to prevent you from getting the virus. Masks are intended to prevent you from spreading the virus.

Mask Mandates Are Another Story

So, if masks work, why would I say mandates don’t? That one is a bit more complex, but, I believe, incredibly self-evident once you give it some thought.

So here it is…over the last 20ish years, and especially over the last 12, trust in institutions has been eroded. Possibly beyond repair.

For the Democratic Party, and even more-so the progressive/woke types, the election and reelection of Bush, then the election of Trump, was a call to arms. As we have seen over and over, there was an inability to process the fact that the nation could elect someone like that, and we saw 8 and 4 years, respectively, of denigration and insult (with occasional violence) hurtled at the right. It has been worse with the Trump administration, with people actively calling for Trump supporters to be jailed or blacklisted from society. We even have celebrated Democrats like New York governor Andrew Cuomo and Vice President-Elect Kamela Harris encouraging people to not take COVID vaccines because they were developed whilst Trump was President. These individuals ignore the way vaccines are developed, and the specifics of the three current vaccine candidates.

For the Republican Party, the 8 years of the Obama administration served to greatly erode trust in institutions. From the bald-faced lie about ‘keeping your doctor’ to selling guns to Mexican cartels, to weaponizing the IRS against conservative groups to ordering the execution without trial of American citizens, Obama managed to destroy a lot of long-held trust in the institutions of our nation.

This erosion – and we all feel it to varying levels – is part and parcel of the increased polarization we are also seeing.

Adding to the distrust in our institutions is the recurring story of elected officials issuing rules they themselves ignore. Here in Illinois, Governor Pritzker shut down all school sports, but his daughter was off competing in equestrian events out of state. In Texas, Austin mayor Steve Adler demanded people remain home while he was vacationing (and attending a wedding) in Cabo, Mexico. California governor Gavin Newsom banned multi-family dining in restaurants, then went to a lobbyist dinner. We see the same nonsense from Denver mayor Michael Hancock, San Francisco mayor London Breed, LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo, Nancy Pelosi, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, and more. It was only when he faced massive backlash that New York mayor Cuomo canceled plans to host two of his daughters and his 89-old mother for Thanksgiving after previously telling New Yorkers to stay home and not hold big gatherings.

Yes, those are all Democrats. A Google search for “republican politicians disregard covid” doesn’t produce similar results.

This kind of behavior is the cornerstone of our eroded trust. When someone like this declares we must do this or that, we don’t want to listen – they have proven that we cannot trust them. Even when they promote things that work, that we should be doing, we won’t hear them because they have proven themselves untrustworthy.

Mask work. It is really that simple. The science is there, the anecdotal evidence is there. You should wear one, even though it may not be necessary, it’s the right thing to do.