//Masks for Dummies pt. XV

Masks for Dummies pt. XV

By I. smiley G. Calderón | smileygcalderon@gmail.com

Dear reader, wherever you live, you should know the Covid data in your area. Do you? If you’ve been following this Masks for Dummies series, you already know that I always include Fresno County data in every edition. Why? Because I want you to see the bare facts as they are for yourself. Unfiltered. This is not a time for political games or buffoonery. It never was. It’s still a matter of life and death.

For example, here in Fresno County, we’ve had 128,450 total confirmed positive Covid cases. Last month this time around, we only had 113,854. That’s a 13% increase in just one month. Clearly, this pandemic is still raging. At the beginning of September, our total Covid death toll was 1,770. At this month’s start, we’re at a total of 1,964. You do the math. And it’s not pretty, either. At this rate, by the time you finish reading this article, we’ll probably have the names of well over 2,000 dear Fresnans on Covid’s casualty list.

Yet, sadly, our country as a whole is doing even worse.  

In just the past month alone, we have had over 3.6 million new Covid cases as well as over 52,000 new Covid deaths. The United States has now amassed over 43.6M total cases and over 700K deaths since the beginning of this horrible pandemic. To put this into perspective, consider India, a country with considerably fewer resources to combat Covid than us has a total of 33.7M cases – but 449K total deaths.

Dear reader, we are leading the entire world in a senselessly cruel cycle of Covid tragedy after Covid tragedy. It is a real-life dystopian public health nightmare where science and common sense are distrusted and rejected. Can you see it? When our top scientists and doctors recommend and urge (practically beg) the nation to wear masks to reduce Covid’s community spread, but the public response is crazy political uproar and rejection, you know we live in a hazardous type of Twilight Zone. Have we abandoned common sense? When people frantically demand their freedom to not wear lifesaving covering over their mouth and nose during a deadly pandemic, can we really get any dumber?

And when our world’s very best scientists come together in a race to create groundbreaking, lifesaving vaccines in record time that are safe and proven to work, we really can’t be anything but collectively stupid when we ignore them or think that our quick ‘internet research’ and fast ‘Googling’ can trump and disprove the science.

So, more and more, I think, this Covid pandemic is showing us just how stupid we really are. A little harsh, sure – but you know it’s true. How long have we been fighting Covid with this same damn tiresome opposition towards mask-wearing and vaccines? How many more people need to get sick and die before America’s unmasked and unvaccinated get with the program?

Meet husband and wife Jose Lopez-Guerrero and Natalie Wester, new parents to their dear infant son with cystic fibrosis, living in Texas near Dallas. They went on a much-deserved date night at Hang Time Sports Grill & Bar in Rowlett in mid-September. Even though they are fully vaccinated, they always wear their masks in public because of their son’s delicate health condition. (They both understand the simple science that, even if they are fully vaccinated against Covid and thereby personally protected from SARS-CoV-2, they can still become infected with the virus and still unknowingly pass it to anyone they come in contact with – which can prove deadly for the recipient). So, they went to Hang Time with their masks on. But then something shocking happened – even for Texas. Their server abruptly came to their table some 30 minutes after they had already placed their order and said, “Hey, so our manager is over there in the kitchen, and he is not as nice as I am, so I came over here to talk to you and unfortunately, this is a political thing, but our manager does not believe in the mask. He’s tired of being told what to do by, you know, politics in the country, and so you’re going to need to take the mask off….”


What did I say about being really dumb and stupid? Not convinced yet? Well, here’s what the owner of Hang Time had to say about the incident at his restaurant: “I spent my money on this business, I put my blood, sweat, and tears in this business, and I don’t want any masks in here…”

Wow – again.

After being confronted by their server, Jose and Natalie quietly paid their tab and just left. They know that protecting themselves and their baby from Covid is worth a whole lot more than a fun night out on the town. But, they also learned the hard way that being surrounded by idiots is tough for your health. Natalie reflected, “It’s kind of just made me realize that maybe I shouldn’t go out anymore…at least not here in Texas. Not right now. It’s just it’s not a good environment…”

She’s right. It’s not. It’s still not a safe, good environment right now from Covid. 

Until these crazy sociopathic anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers see the light or die off (remember, dear reader, Covid kills), this pandemic won’t stop, can’t stop. SARS-CoV-2 absolutely needs a human host to replicate, propagate, and dominate. And, unfortunately, these anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers have become real-life ‘virus volunteers’ offering themselves up as fresh meat.

Yet the truth is until we all stop the coronavirus in its tracks together, we will all be on the Covid menu.

*Dear reader, please continue to tell your friends to get vaccinated and to wear their masks. Let’s end this pandemic! 

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I. smiley G. Calderón is a Gen X Chicano and lifelong educator who spent a career in academia in Southern California, but is most proud of being a father.