Who Is That Masked Man?

It feels so weird to be wearing a face mask again. 

Forthe first two weeks of the month I was in Maine, and no-one on the beach was wearing a face mask. After all, the risk and likelihood of COVID-19 transmission in such an outdoor setting was very low. 

Indoors masks weren’t in evidence either. The few stores I visited said masks were optional for the vaccinated. It seemed like most people were, or claimed to be. No-one was asking for proof.

Surprisingly, the world hasn’t ended for the unmasked. Nor has the virus been spending any quicker in Maine than in a place like Ontario where masks are required pretty much everywhere there are people.

In Maine, for the first time in more than a year I got to sing in church without a face covering. I know there are some who would consider that irresponsible – but the state’s public health experts seem to have deemed such actions acceptable. Unlike in Ontario. 

Canadians remain gripped by fear of the virus. The few Americans I spoke to didn’t have the same attitude.

I found it interesting to see how much COVID unease I have acquired. Other than groceries, I stayed out of stores. I kept socially distant from others as much as possible. The businesses I normally patronize while on vacation, music stores, book stores, clothing stores and restaurants, didn’t see me this year. Maybe next summer.

Part of my reluctance to shop may have had something to do with not being able to drive to Maine. (Thank you President Biden for keeping the border closed for no discernable reason.) Yes, I had a borrowed car, but it wasn’t the same. And there wasn’t much room in the luggage to go on a shopping spree. Unless I wanted to incur even more extra bag charges from the airline. Also, having missed the beach completely in 2020, I didn’t want to take time away from it to go shopping.

Still, you have to wonder what the difference is between masked and unmasked populations when so many have been vaccinated against COVID-19. I don’t see a significant statistical difference between Ontario anf Maine. 

We are all tired of having to wear a mask. And such behavior does retard the spread of the virus, or so we have been assured. But how long can we expect this behavior to be mandatory? 

I’ve been thinking that face masks are going to be with us for years on public transit and at public gatherings – at least where I live. Certainly that will reduce my chances of getting sick – given my dislike of face coverings, I’ll be skipping a lot of events.

After 18 months of various restrictions. I’m not convinced that they can’t be eased a little more quickly. Places that have trusted their citizens to use common sense don’t seem to have been overwhelmed by new cases of COVID. Or have I missed something?

Maybe the retrictions here remain becasue governments are having too much fun imposing rules on people. Just because they can. That wouldn’t be the case, could it?

2 comments

  1. I think you missed the math and the current trend. Maine has 1.34 Million people, which is 9.2% of Ontario’s population of 14.6 million. However, they have as of August 24th 363 new cases, which is 75% of Ontario’s numbers for the same day (486 cases). So, proportionally, Maine’s numbers are a lot higher and headed even higher still, mostly driven by people who are not vaccinated. I know that a daily number is a sketchy indicator as it relies on many moving parts, but Maine’s health administrators are concerned about what is coming.

    1. Good point. I was working from memory and hadn’t looked at recent numbers. Indeed cases are up. The daily fluctuations though make it hard to determine what the true infection rate is. Yesterday there were 363 new cases, as you said. But there were sero new cases reported the previous two days (if I read the info from the NY Times correctly, with a seven-day average of 161. When we arrived in Maine the seven-day average was 80.

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