The Atlantic had an article about the irrational belief that people should not wear a mask to prevent exposure to COVID-19. Now masks are hoaxes too?
The woman in the video would like you to know that she is compassionate. She would like you to know that she understands “the virus is real.” She would also like you to know, however, that she has tried wearing a face mask while out in public during the coronavirus pandemic, and that she will not be wearing one again. “I’m at the end of it,” she says tearfully, recording herself in her car after 45 minutes spent wearing a mask. “I’m just simply at the end of it.”
Viewed more than 6 million times since it was posted last week, the woman’s dramatic rejection of mask wearing is part of a burgeoning micro-genre: videos of the maskless that double as portraits of stubbornness, of selfishness, of rugged individualism run amok. There’s the Costco shopper who refused to wear a mask in the warehouse, because, as he informed a crew member, “I woke up in a free country.” There’s the woman who cut a hole in the center of her mask because the fabric, she explained, made it “hard to breathe.” There’s the woman who informed a clerk at a California supermarket that, although the store’s policy required her to wear a mask, she would not be doing so, because of a “medical condition.” (Do not wonder what condition this might be: “I’m not required by HIPAA rules and regulations to disclose that,” she said.)
Yesterday, during a press conference conducted on the White House lawn, Donald Trump filmed his own version of a mask-rejection video. As the cameras rolled, the president spoke, as he always does, without a mask, modeling defiance against the advice of his own public-health experts. (Deborah Birx, the coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, had this to say, earlier this month, about the sight of people gathered together without masks: “It’s devastatingly worrisome to me personally, because if they go home and infect their grandmother or their grandfather … they will feel guilty for the rest of our lives.”)
During the Q&A session, a reporter—wearing a boldly patterned face mask—tried to ask the president a question. Trump replied by asking him to remove his mask. (“I cannot hear you,” the president explained, though he had answered a previous question from the same journalist with no evident problem.) The reporter declined; he said instead that he would speak more loudly. “Oh, okay, you want to be politically correct,” Trump replied.