Throughout the pandemic, I’ve followed the science. I understand science changes as we learn more–which is how I know the scientific process is working. When it gets it is wrong it self-corrects. That’s how it works. Science isn’t dogma, though of course at times scientists can be just as dogmatic as others because they still suffer from human fallibility. So, when they said stay home, I could so I did. When they said wear a mask, I could so I did. When they said get the vaccine I could so I did because it had been through clinical trials with a remarkably low side-effect rate.
It’s possible that there are things they got wrong or find out in the future changing directives and instructions. That’s how it works. It works as a system, despite human fallibility.
Actually, it works as a system because of human fallibility. Researchers, scientists, and academics can be a real pain in the ass. I know. They often have the hubris to think that they are the smartest person in the room because often they are–just ask them. They can be very competitive. So any claim made by a researcher is instantly challenged, tested, vetted, and verified before it is published in a peer-reviewed journal. Once published, many others line up to try and knock it down. Because of the process, it usually survives, though it might be added to, modified somewhat, corrected to some degree, and yes occasionally knocked down and discredited. A prime example of this is the link between the MMR vaccine and autism (see Lancet retracts 12=year-old article linking autism to MMR vaccines). The idea that there is a cabal of scientists that could all agree on some conspiracy of scientific fraud (about vaccines, Covid, climate change, etc.) without any one of them seizing the opportunity to put all the others in their place and be the one to break the story or make the finding is inconceivable.
Therefore, through it all I’ve done my part because I understand how scientists work and the process. So, I will take off my mask. I will, however, carry one with me, both literally and figuratively. There is light at the end of this long tunnel, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t a train in the form of a new variant, but just in case, I’ll keep the mask handy. There are some businesses and individuals that will still want me to wear one, which I will do so without complaint. It’s really no big deal to slip it back on again. It’s not an affront to my civil liberties any more than is wearing shoes or a shirt. I recognize that there might be individuals with heightened risk and are still vulnerable even with the vaccine. Even with the vaccine, one may have a compromised immune system so, while the risk of getting Covid is greatly reduced, the disease is probably lethal.
However, I’m not going to worry anymore about those that refuse to follow the science, wear their own mask or get the vaccine if there is no reason not to do either of those things. They can make that choice for themselves, but I also think it is an example of extreme selfishness and narcissism. If you choose to put yourself at risk still at this point, so be it. But also recognize that you might be contributing to the longevity of this global nightmare for all by ignoring the scientific process that effectively eradicated so many other diseases prior to this one. This one is no different than those others except this one was turned political by a president.
So, if you see me without a mask, know that I’m vaccinated, symptom free, and confident of my health. If I enter a store still displaying a sign requesting mask use, I’ll happily wear mine. Or if you are wearing one and would like me to as well, please ask and I’ll happily put on mine. And if you are not, I’m going to assume the same for you. even though it might be naive on my part, but that’s my choice just as it may be yours to put others at risk.