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Wear A Mask


It has been some time since I wrote my last blog for the Stone Institute website. So much has transpired since that time. The world is in peril from COVID-19, citizens identifying with each social movement are challenging our nation's societal constructions on all levels, social media is out-of-control, and we have a national election in a few short days that will end in a victory for one party, a defeat for the other and collective chaos in the wake of another four years of political fighting.

The most concerning issue related to the COVID-19 pandemic is how and when to get back to normalcy, given the lack of solidarity in the nation. There are divides in the medical community as well. Mask or no mask, vaccine, or no vaccine, open up all aspects of commerce or modify the economic engine to a pace consistent with reducing our exposure to the Coronavirus.  The virus is new to us. Our wholesale response to the challenge has been feeble at best. We are losing one thousand Americans a day to illnesses caused by COVID-19 infections, and there is no clearing in the immediate or remote future. Those who believe the election on November 3rd will miraculously end the spread of the contagion are probably drinking some horrible Kool-Aid. Imagine everyone's surprise when we tally more than 350,000 deaths after the Christmas Holidays.

The vaccine will not save the day. Those who believe that virus is a hoax should not concern themselves with the vaccine for they will not be taking it. Why get a vaccine for a virus that is just a hoax? As I listen to our President downplay the virus to his supporters, he promises them a vaccine by the middle of the fall. Why? They do not need one. They do not wear masks or believe the death toll is real. For those of us who think it is real, we need to concern ourselves with the transparency of the vaccine trials.

In a nonurgent time, the FDA approves vaccines for the general population if they are fifty percent effective. That translates to vaccine trials revealing that the study population had 50% fewer infections than the control group. A vaccine that is 50% effective for COVID-19 will not stop the pandemic. For a vaccine to work in the pandemic, it must be at least 70% effective. And we must vaccinate sixty-five percent of the population to stop the spread of the virus. How on earth will sixty-five percent of our US population trust the government enough to agree to take a vaccine for themselves and their children? Which Federal agency will control the distribution to our citizens? Or is this entire program just going to be another fiasco in the modern history of the United States?

Trust in our government begins with the absolute regulation of social media. Facebook, YouTube, Google, Reddit, Pinterest, etc. continue to damage our population almost every day, nearly beyond repair. Politicians spew vitriol with the desire to get the vote. Misinformation sculpts the opinions of the portion of the populace that receives their information exclusively via social media. MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, and other news outlets are also repurposing information with slants on the truth. Often, they report information that is fabricated and unfounded, only to retract their mistake at a distance time. Corporations are feeding us intellectual garbage every day in every way. Many of us are digesting it.

The social media business model is diabolical. Platforms make money on our attention time. People spend much too much time reading Facebook, Instagram, and other social sites whose revenue is generated by advertisements. To get people to stay connected to the platforms, these companies design algorithms to feed the viewer what they desire to see. In doing so, companies share any uncensored false information that keeps someone glued to their device. Unfortunately, those who believe the made-up story continues to affirm their beliefs as if they were the truth.  These companies know everything about us. Facebook sends newsfeeds designed to catch our eyes and enrich our belief systems. My wife's news feed is vastly different than mine. Political agencies weaponize false information to create a narrative that resonates with their schemata, not the agendas of the voters. Big business is mining and transforming us; We have become the most critical natural resource in the economic food chain. They are trading us on the futures market.

Imagine a world that tailors the facts of science and history to what one wishes to believe? What would the state of cancer research be if scientists were only allowed to see what inherently they think? Throughout history hundreds of people critically examined the status quo, finding flaws in established views of science and culture. Critics found answers when answers were considered non-existent. If we cannot agree on a common Truth, then afterward dissect it from many points of view, and then arrive at a solution that makes sense for most, if not all of us involved, our society will implode. I am already witnessing this phenomenon in our public health response as it pertains to COVID-19. I am sure it is occurring in every dimension of our society.

When people revolt against wearing a mask, they are purposefully endangering themselves, and to some extent, the health and wellbeing of others. Sound familiar? Cigarette smokers made that argument and lost their battle. Smokers do not have the right to subject me or others to their second-hand smoke.  Those who do not wear a mask do not have the right to expose me to their infectious aerosols. I wear a mask to protect myself from those who do not wear a mask. Some Tennesseans have shared the idea that stores, restaurants, service stations, and medical offices should not be allowed to mandate mask-wearing in their place of business because they believe it is their constitutional right to choose a mask or no mask when they shop or visit a physician. Seriously?

Those same Tennesseans told me that if I became sick from their infected aerosol, I should have no right to file suit against them for getting me ill from their contagion.

They also said that it is a risk a doctor takes when deciding to provide care to the infirm.

When I asked those Tennesseans if I should be held liable for their illness if they caught it from me while treating them for another medical problem, they answered, "Absolutely, Doc. Comes with the territory."

Maybe our salvation would be a viral infection of Facebook that would collapse their platform. I bet everyone would do what is necessary to resolve that infection, following the instructions to a tee.

Get off social media. Wear a mask. Keep others safe. Vote.





Posted by The Stone Institute News at 11:16 AM
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