News & Politics

Why Do So Many People Seem Disappointed That Mask Mandates Are Ending?

AP Photo/Eric Gay

It’s almost as if the CDC guidelines informing us we could ditch the masks if we were vaccinated disappointed many people. They have become so attached to their face coverings, so in love with the idea that they were “following the science” that any suggestion to take it off is met with hostility and disbelief.

“People who are vaccinated can do much more with less risk than those who are not,” the New York Times concedes“But vaccines do not offer 100 percent protection, and only about half of people in the region are fully vaccinated. As a result, some epidemiologists continue to recommend following the golden rules of coronavirus safety.”

But there is growing evidence that a fully vaccinated person has a better chance of getting hit by a car than catching COVID. And that puts the public health extremists in a bind.

We should mask up not to protect ourselves, not to demonstrate our political allegiance.


The fact that the Times describes COVID-19 safeguards as “golden rules,” analogous to a timeless ethical principle, suggests that its advice is based on something other than rational, context-dependent concerns about virus transmission. Mask wearing and physical distancing, once presented as temporary responses to the pandemic that would no longer be necessary after the danger had passed, have been transformed into rituals that signify membership in a COVID-19 cult of caution.

As Reason‘s Robby Soave notes, that cult has strong partisan overtones. “The mask was supposed to be a temporary public health intervention,” he writes, “and it’s regrettable that for many people these little bands of cloth have become Team Blue’s version of the Make America Great Again hat.”

Partisanship aside, the media continues to promote masking and social distancing as if there is still a crisis. But with America rapidly approaching a point of some kind of herd immunity, it’s almost as if the media can’t stand the thought of not being able to scare people.

Spectator USA:

Yet disgruntled CNN presenters scowled even at the COVID high priest, Anthony Fauci. The network’s other guests grumbled that lifting mandates for the vaccinated was too soon, confusing and irresponsible. The New York Times quotes multiple Americans for whom the CDC announcement has only increased anxiety: ‘It’s just so normal now that I feel weird walking places without a mask.’ ‘I wasn’t ready; I have to learn to deal with this.’ One interviewee has been double-masking and wearing goggles for 14 months — a get-up that didn’t keep him from catching COVID in November. Yet he’s vowed to carry on with the gear for at least the next five years.

This is not an “overabundance of caution.” This is madness. The COVID virus will be with us forever. We’re going to have to learn to live with it. It’s likely that infections and deaths will rise in the winter months as people move indoors. Will the next spike in the number of infections give politicians another chance to mandate masks and restrict movement?

You better believe it will. At that point, we’ll go to war against the COVID Cult of Caution and not allow them to impose this silliness on us again.