Tag Archives: masks

Mask up, America!

Here comes my latest declaration: With the Omicron variant spreading, along with those other COVID-19 variants, I have decided that I will go nowhere without a mask.

We have a bunch of ’em in the console in our truck. They all fit nicely. They all seem to do what they are intended to do, which is protect us from the virus that is infecting, sickening and killing Americans.

They’re shutting down Broadway shows, ordering fans at pro basketball games to wear masks, reopening COVID testing stations. Dang, man … we’re falling back into some sort of pandemic-defense mode.

There’s a sliver of good news to share. It is that the Omicron variant produces symptoms that appear to be milder than the Delta variant. That’s good, except that Omicron is more contagious; it spreads more easily.

I feel as though we have dodged thousands of bullets so far. We are vaccinated fully, including the booster shot. Our immediate family is taking precautions, too, and they have worked. Another member of my family got quite sick nearly a year ago from the COVID virus, but she’s bounced back.

With this Omicron mess getting messier, I intend now to ensure that I mask up when I enter indoor settings full of people I do not know, nor know their vaccination status.

One more point: I intend to follow every single government “mandate” to the letter.


Docs are invaluable

These social media messages can be so instructive. This one caught me eye and I want to share it.

The nimrods who bitch about the doctors, scientists, researchers and drug company executives are all too willing to throw themselves at their feet when they get sick.

The COVID-19 virus continues to ravage us. It is infecting us at an alarming rate … still! Yet we hear from the red-state rubes that they don’t trust the vaccines being offered; they mistrust the advice of learned medical and scientific professionals, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, the world’s pre-eminent infectious disease expert; they rely on livestock medication that the docs say is bad for you.

Then they get sick. They are hospitalized. Then they depend on the very same docs who warned them to get vaccinated, to mask up, to practice social distancing; they want those folks to make ’em better.

Hypocrisy? You bet!


Paris ISD gets creative

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

So help me, I cannot get past relishing the decision up yonder in Paris, Texas, to perform an end-around Gov. Greg Abbott’s order barring local governments from imposing mask-wearing mandates on the people they serve.

It’s simply a stroke of genius!

Paris Independent School District trustees voted to make masks a part of the student dress code. “The Board believes the dress code can be used to mitigate communicable health issues, and therefore has amended the PISD dress code to protect our students and employees,” the district said in a statement after the board ruled.

COVID-19 is spiking all over the damn place. The Delta variant is to blame. Too many children are being affected. Paris ISD, which educates about 4,000 students in North Texas, decided it couldn’t stand still while Abbott fought with other districts over their own masking-up decisions.

NBC News reports: Abbott has sought to portray his stance as protecting the freedoms of Texans. “The path forward relies on personal responsibility — not government mandates,” the governor said earlier this month.

Texas school district makes masks part of dress code to get around Gov. Abbott’s order (nbcnews.com)

Personal responsibility, though, well might get more Texans sick from a disease that could kill them.

Let’s mask up, eh? As for Paris ISD’s creative response to ham-handed authority, I will await other school districts’ decision to follow suit.

Why the no-mask mandate?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I am willing to admit that there are a lot of things in this cold, cruel world I do not  understand.

One of those things is the nutty notion that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has embraced by declaring that only he can tell local governments how to react to the surge in infection from the COVID pandemic and its associated variants.

Abbott issued an executive order that bans school districts and other governmental jurisdictions from issuing mandates requiring masks indoors.

Several large independent public school districts — starting with Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and Houston — have defied the governor. They have ordered everyone in their buildings to mask up. To which I say, “Good for you!”

My 8-year-old granddaughter started school today in Allen. The Allen Independent School District hasn’t followed the lead set by its bigger district neighbors in Dallas and Fort Worth. The kids aren’t being told they must wear masks while sitting in class, or walking into the cafeteria, or goofing off with their friends in the hall.

I have to ask: What in the name of preventive measures is Abbott thinking when he issues those no-can-do orders to local jurisdictions?

I used to talk occasionally to Gov. Abbott when he was a mere Texas Supreme Court justice and later state attorney general. He ran for governor the first time after I left the daily journalism world, so I haven’t had a ringside seat to watch his morphing from a reasonable Republican into some sort of cultist who follows the example set by the 45th POTUS.

I am left merely to shake my head in disbelief and amazement that he has put our children’s health in peril — and that includes my precious granddaughter — by telling school systems they are forbidden from taking measures they believe will save lives.

Greg Abbott is acting like a madman!

What would you do?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Let’s play this drama out a bit longer, shall we?

Dallas public school superintendent Michael Hinojosa has become a bit of a household name in just a few hours. He decided to defy an executive order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott by ordering that everyone who works in or visits a Dallas public school wear a mask to prevent exposure to the COVID virus.

Abbott’s order said local public officials cannot do that.

I have been asking this of myself: If I were running a school district would I have the guts to defy a gubernatorial order? My own bias tells me I would. I dislike Abbott’s ham-handed approach to dictating to local officials how to protect their constituents. Still, to defy the governor in this fashion is to tempt political fate, given that school superintendents do represent fellow citizens who might disagree with a decision of such controversy and consequence.

Could I withstand the heat? To be honest, I cannot answer that question as I have never faced such a possibility … ever!

Dallas Independent School District is the second-largest district in Texas. The other Texas mega-districts sit in communities such as Harris, Travis, Tarrant and Bexar counties. They all have something in common. All of those counties voted in the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden. They opposed the 45th POTUS’s bid for re-election. I strongly suspect the former president’s blundering, feckless and untruthful response to the pandemic had something to do with voters’ decision to reject his re-election.

So now the politicization of this fight continues.

I happen to believe we well might see similar demonstrations of defiance in places — just like Dallas ISD — where residents are likely to endorse decisions such as the one handed down by Michael Hinojosa.

As for the smaller, more rural districts populated by voters who endorse the fecklessness of POTUS 45, they well might have to face their consciences if their refusal to take action results in more sickness … or worse.

DISD boss plays it right

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The limb on which I will climb may be about to splinter and break, but I’ll venture out there anyway.

Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Michael Hinojosa, in issuing his mask-wearing order for all students, teachers, staff and visitors to the public school system, is playing a sound political hand.

He is defying an order from Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits local officials such as Hinojosa from issuing such directives. Hinojosa appears to be ignoring that edict from Austin, even though we are fighting a surge in infections from the Delta variant spawned by that damn pandemic.

Why? Because the voting constituency he serves — the parents of the students and the teachers who work in DISD — are likely to oppose Gov. Abbott’s ham-handed approach to telling school districts what they can and cannot do.

Were the superintendent in charge of a district parked in the middle of a rock-ribbed Republican-leaning county, such as, oh, Collin County (where I live), he might not have the guts to do what he did today in issuing the order in a district that sits primarily inside Dallas County (which by the way voted overwhelmingly for President Biden in the 2020 presidential election); Dallas County also voted by large margins for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012.

Do you get my drift here?

Thus, it is with sadness that I will probably have to wait forever for other school district chieftains to follow Superintendent Hinojosa’s lead in demonstrating courage in our national fight against the COVID pandemic.

Fauci not allowed to learn?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Congressional Republicans and a smattering of congressional Democrats are climbing all over Dr. Anthony Fauci over some emails he transmitted during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fauci reportedly dismissed the preventative value of masks. He said masks don’t do the job. Many of Fauci’s critics among the GOP caucus have said, “See? We told you so! Fauci is a liar!” — or words to that effect.

Hold on here!

Donald Trump brought Fauci on board as he sought to craft a White House response team to combat the spread of the virus. Fauci happens to be the nation’s — if not the world’s — premier infectious disease expert.

Isn’t he allowed to learn about the pandemic along with the rest of us? I don’t quite grasp the significance of the emails. He has changed his mind about masks. He is all-in on mask-wearing.

That hasn’t stemmed the criticism coming from many in Congress who contend that Dr. Fauci is talking out both sides of his mouth.

Actually, I am willing to give the good doc the benefit of the doubt and presume he knows a whole lot more about this disease today than he did when it broke loose.

Biden masks up … good!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden appears to have made a decision that has some folks wondering … what’s the point?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has loosened its recommendations for mask wearing while the COVID pandemic continues to infect, sicken and kill Americans.

What has been Biden’s response? He and first lady Jill Biden continue to mask up. As The Hill newspaper reported, the first couple was spotted walking toward Marine One with no one else nearby; both of them wore masks.

I believe President Biden is intent on sending a message, which is to employ extreme caution even as infection, hospitalization and death rates continue to decline.

According to The Hill: “I actually think it would do so much good for the president to be modeling at this point the really critical times when people should be wearing a mask, and letting people know here is the benefit of the vaccine: You don’t need to be wearing a mask during these other times,” said Leana Wen, an emergency physician and former health commissioner for the city of Baltimore.

Biden keeps masking despite updated guidance | TheHill

Yes, it is important for the president of the United States to serve as a role model on these matters which, I hasten to point out, can determine whether we live or die.

Compare the current president’s commitment to this role-playing to his immediate predecessor’s flouting of the CDC guidelines — while the pandemic was accelerating at an alarming rate.

Donald Trump refused for months even to acknowledge publicly the severity of the pandemic. He wouldn’t be seen with a mask, offering some ridiculous assertion that it didn’t dignify the office he occupied. The Trumpkin Corps followed their guy’s lead on that specious notion.

We have a new man in the nation’s most exalted office. President Biden has chosen to set a different kind of example. Frankly, it is an example I do not mind watching our president and the first lady setting an example worth emulating.

The stakes remain too high and the consequences are too grim to fall back on phony and false denials.

Fox blowhard loses his mind

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Tucker Carlson is no expert … on anything.

He hosts a show on the Fox News Channel, which I guess buys him some gravitas among millions of Americans. Therefore, it is incumbent on other commentators — such as me — to weigh in on one of the more bizarre rants many of us ever have heard.

Carlson went on a weird tangent Monday night in which he declared that parents who require their children to wear masks in this pandemic era need to be arrested for, uhh, child abuse.

What a fruitcake, man.

The criticism of Carlson’s baloney transcends the cosmic divide between liberals and conservatives. One right-wing commentator, Bill Kristol, wrote this via Twitter: The masks stuff is performative idiocy and demagoguery. But the key sentence in Carlson’s rant was this: “It’s our job to restore the society we were born in.” The destructive power of reactionary nostalgia jet-fueled by grievances real or imagined shouldn’t be underestimated.

The blowback from across the nation was immediate. Forbes wrote: It began after Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Monday suggested it was “unacceptable,” “dangerous” and even potentially “illegal” for children to be forced to wear face coverings outside. Carlson further said that viewers should report such sightings to the police or child protective services, even as it is still recommended that masks be worn at all times by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New Debate Over Masks Trending On Social Media Following Rant By Tucker Carlson (forbes.com)

It all gives me pause to wonder how in the name of parental discretion can this guy be taken seriously? Here’s the tough answer, which is that millions of Americans do listen to the bluster, bloviating and bellowing from loudmouths such as Tucker Carlson.

I need to stipulate once again this point, which is that Carlson has no particular standing as a childhood behavior specialist. He is just a guy with a large audience of devoted followers who are going to high-five each other when they hear the crap flowing from this individual’s pie hole.

Tucker Carlson has, in the well-aimed words of one progressive critic, “lost his mind.”

COVID: still worrisome

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden’s latest amendment to the COVID mandates he has sought has produced a cause for worry.

Biden now echoes a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that says it’s OK to go without masks when we’re outdoors. The CDC also cautions against mingling with large crowds of people.

The worry? It comes because I fear too many of us will ignore the caveat laid out there by CDC and the president.

Biden and his medical team are trumpeting the vaccines — all three of them — that are being injected into human bodies. About 30 percent of the U.S. population has received at least one dose. West Virginia is now offering cold cash money to residents who are resisting the inoculation. I get that we are turning the proverbial corner against the killer pandemic.

Dang it, though! We need to continue to exercise what’s been called “an abundance of caution.”

My wife and I are fully vaccinated. So are our son and daughter-in-law. Their two older sons are as well. Our granddaughter is not yet … but she’s a young’n. We feel comfortable going without masks when we’re in their presence, as we do with our older son who lives elsewhere but who is about to receive his second vaccine.

I just don’t want there to be some mad rush toward “normal living” by those who have grown tired of the masks, of the social distancing, of the incessant hand-washing.

We all can see that so-called light at the end of it all, but we still have some distance to go.