March Fourth. Fourth March.

The date is now Saturday, March 1,099th, 2020. The fourth March of the ongoing pandemic that is still killing more than 11,000 people a month in the US alone, and permanently disabling so many more. And still you assholes won't even consider masking.

If you choose to stand around inside a crowded room without wearing a mask -- I think you're a fucking idiot.

Turns out, nearly every person I know is a fucking idiot.

    Sat Mar 1099 11:37:19 PST 2020

Here's what our calendar looked like in that first March, as we shut down for fourteen months.

And that March marches on.

Included amongst the aforementioned fucking idiots is a good friend who just contracted COVID for the THIRD time, who never wears a mask, ever. "What difference does it make?" she says. Then I cite studies showing what difference it makes. She shrugs it off with, "I can't keep living in fear".

To her, and to so many others, going to movie theatres and crowded nightclubs, but hanging a thin piece of plastic on their face while doing it, constitutes "living in fear".

No, we must pretend that the world has not changed in any material way since 2019. Those Eden-like pastoral days of 2019, before any of you had experienced "sadness" or "fear".

It would be bad enough if these people came upon their self-destructive and asinine positions naturally, but as with all the horrors of the modern world, this was not a choice, it was done to them by billionaires:

Lucky Tran:

These disinformation tactics are successfully quashing public health policies. Policymakers are susceptible to bad faith arguments about masks because they are beholden to short-term corporate interests. Masks are a visible symbol that the pandemic is ongoing, and politicians fear that these reminders stop people from consuming. It's easy to lie to those who want to believe.

An immunocompromised friend recently attended a funeral, and was repeatedly told by other maskless attendees how "brave" they were for masking. Brave?

"I don't really have a choice," they said.

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17 Responses:

  1. CSL3 says:

    If you choose to stand around inside a crowded room without wearing a mask -- I think you're a fucking idiot.

    This is my internal monologue every hour of every day for the past four goddamn years.

    And we've gone past everyone glaring at those virus-spreading idiots as walking biohazards to us masked ones being glared at because we don't want to choke on our own lungs, suffer (possibly permanent) neurological/cardiac/who-knows-what-else kinda bodily damage, or to, y'know, die.

    I was part of this demonstration last Monday, and the group of us (many of whom were either disabled or representing disabled groups) walking through masked as every mouth-breather glared at us (sooooo many weddings) was as surreal as it was disturbing. And that was without the "debate" I got into with an unmasked anti-vaxxer who approached me outside beforehand.

    The comic below (May 2022) went from satire to reality in record time:

    • CSL3 says:

      Anyone remember when the release of the first Doctor Strange (the good one) was marred by both the whitewashed casting of Tilda Swinton and her really tone-deaf response to it? Remember when we thought that would be the dumbest fucking thing Tilda Swinton would say in public?

      We were wrong.

      Swinton - who's had COVID multiple times (including one bout of Long COVID) has taken the Fran Drescher/Matthew McConaughey/Woody Harrelson stance against masks, mandates, and (in the case of the latter two) vaccines:

      IndieWire: Tilda Swinton is Done with COVID Protocols, Refuses to Wear a Mask During Next Film Production

      “I was told to wear a mask at all times, and I’m not,” Swinton said.

      On the other hand: props to Jessica Chastain, the one and only Oscars attendee to realise "Oh yeah, we're still in pandemic".

  2. Zygo says:

    2019 was the last of about 50 years of a weird section of human history when random colds weren't deadly (at least among the wealthy).  Today nobody remembers living among people who failed to survive common diseases that often start with a sniffle.  As a result, people are not grateful for all the tools we now have to reduce airborne disease transmission.

  3. Not Frank says:

    The most annoying part to me is that now there's no way any attempt to impose wide masking requirements would fly. Fourth March will be followed by Fifth March and so on until the end of our days. Maybe if we're lucky COVID-19 will magically become less nasty, but my optimism was spent back when I thought we'd all come together, have a shitty eight to twelve weeks in Spring 2020 to halt it in its tracks, and things would go on as before.

  4. art says:

    i don't understand people's masking problems. i have a nice mask (a dna dazzle mask!). i have had to repair the elastic twice and the nose-wire is long gone. it washes up nicely. i wear it whenever i'm in crowds, airplanes, shopping. i'm probably a fair ways on the skeptical side of covid opinions but who cares: i'm now beginning the fourth year of the most-healthy period of my life. no colds, no flu, no runny nose, no stomach cramps, no covid, nothing. i attribute this 100% entirely to filtering the wet spew of sick people from out of the air i breathe.

    do people enjoy being sick? there seems to be a very very easy way to avoid it.

    • James says:

      You can't eat, or drink. Speaking is difficult, esp. so if you want to keep enough distance it's worth wearing the mask. Non-verbal communication/information is restricted.
      That's without getting to the fact you'll look like an outsider.

      So much easier to just not go out.

      • Elusis says:

        I wore my MaskLab KN-95 with a Sip Mask valve to see a fucking fantastic 9-piece brass band at the Blue Nile in NOLA two nights ago.  Danced, got my drink on (and only stabbed myself in the lip with the straw once). Maybe looked a little weird, but I don't care.

  5. Carlos says:

    Preaching to the choir, but...

    I'm in one of the groups which makes having COVID a worse prospect than average, but even if I wasn't, I wouldn't change my behaviour.  Long COVID is something I really, truly, deeply want to avoid at virtually any cost.

    I started masking four years ago whenever I leave the house.  I don't wear it while driving, but otherwise it's on my face.  I never stopped.

    And, oddly enough - I haven't had COVID yet.  While others, like Jamie's friend, who somehow still think wearing a mask is somehow onerous, work on their collection of post-COVID conditions.

    We're having a hard enough time figuring out just how permanently disabled what percentage of COVID recoverees are going to be - and people want to roll the dice and see "Hey, just how much worse can I get long COVID if I have COVID five times?".

    Boggles the mind.


  6. James says:

    It all feels like a shitty version of prisoner's dilemma where almost everyone else has picked betray, and you know they've picked betray. So the choices you have left are to stay home and don't interact with anyone forever or go out and hope it isn't as bad as you fear.
    Going out where only you mask feels like the worst of both options.

  7. jwilkes says:

    Even with some kind of miraculous masking uptick, we would need cheap, ubiquitous DIY nebulizer testing kits, preferably with the bitter 3M solution.

    Our world:

    "Well, this is the most comfortable mask I've found. And they make it in a bunch of fun colors, too."

    Random Acts of DIY Testing World:

    "Well, this is the most comfortable mask I've found. And they... aw, fuck you that is disgusting! Wait, that means it doesn't work? Godammit! Well, hand me one of those N95s, please. Jesus, this thing is uncomfortable. What? No, I don't taste anything bad. Huh? Yeah, still nothing. Sigh. Thank you."

    • jwz says:

      Starting anything with "even with" brings you >>>this<<< close to getting blocked. I don't need to hear any more people preaching the futility of ever trying anything because it won't solve 100% of all problems.

  8. Karellen says:

    I sometimes wonder how many people who refuse to wear masks also stubbornly refuse to wear seatbelts.

    It's time to stop living in fear. Traffic collisions are just endemic now, so why bother? Besides, with all the other mitigations we've developed - air bags, crumple zones, anti-lock brakes - a manual device that you have to spend time putting on and which restricts your body in some way should be considered a completely unnecessary impingement on your precious freedumbs. Besides, traffic collisions don't kill that many people per year anyway - certainly fewer than Covid does.

    Clearly, seatbelts are a relic of a bygone age. Even though they're cheap, demonstrably effective at reducing your chances of death, and not actually as restrictive or that much of an annoyance to wear as some asshat loudmouths really want you to believe (and also not a tool for fascism or some globalist conspiracy as some racist loudmouths really want you to believe), anyone who continues to wear one these days must surely be a conformist sheep who is unable to Do Their Own Research and come to the rational conclusion for themselves not to wear one!


    • CSL3 says:

      I've probably mentioned this before, but I keep thinking back to the scene from Coppola's Tucker: The Man and His Dream. The real Preston Tucker pushed for his car to have safety measures that weren't standard at the time, one of which was seat belts.

      The scene in question has him arguing with the stuffed suits who want Tucker (Jeff Daniels) to dump all the safety features, specifically singling out seat belts.
      "Seat belts?!", he asks. "How can you possibly have a problem with seat belts?!"
      Without missing a beat, the suits say that the belts should because "They make people think the car is unsafe."

      • thielges says:

        There’s a similar sentiment with bicycling and helmets: that helmet mandates raise the specter of bicycling hazards.  And then there’s the exaggerated sense of safety that helmets confer to some riders.    Helmets do indeed reduce the severity of head trauma in slow speed collisions.  But they’re not much help once speeds exceed 30mph.  

    • Nate says:

      You mean like this research:

      Unvaccinated individuals accounted for 1682 traffic crashes (25%), equal to a 72% increased relative risk compared with those vaccinated (95% confidence interval, 63-82; P < 0.001).

  9. Ivy Nguyen says:

    This was a pretty cool Endless September-inspired calculation for what is an otherwise sad fact that COVID-19 is still with us & killing/harming here in 2023. Let's hope that someday we have the knowledge and technology to make a vaccine and treatment protocol that will stop this menace in its tracks for good.

    --Jess,  2020-03-1101T02:40Z AKA 2023-03-06T02:40Z.

  10. Eric TF Bat says:

    Throughout history there have been events that have killed a significant number of some nations' population -- I'm thinking the Black Death, World Wars and so on -- and surely some kind of analysis has been made of the nation's trajectory vs how it could have been if not for the event.  One example that probably has been studied: how sexual equality in the West improved after WW2 because so many Western countries had lost so many young men to the war, so women had to step in to traditionally male roles and prove their competence despite the traditional barriers.

    Another fifty years or so, it will be possible to see how the early 21st century was changed by a significant number of people dying or being permanently crippled by COVID and Long COVID.  Maybe the effect will be less because most of the population of the Earth was already rendered useless by not being rich enough to have any influence at all.  But it will be an interesting thing to consider: how much of the rest of the 21st century disappeared forever, or was changed in generally horrible ways, because of the loss of either the lives or the efforts of millions of people in those early years?

    Oh to be a historian in the 2120s...

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