Tag Archives: masks

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.

Masks still ‘required’

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We ran some errands today, driving from our home in Princeton into McKinney and then to Fairview, Texas looking for some items to purchase.

We strolled into three major department stores: Kohl’s, JC Penney and Macy’s.

What do you suppose we saw plastered on the doors of all three establishments? Signs that told us that “masks are required” for entry.

We also walked into a craft shop, where we were told that because of COVID precautions, we also had to wash our hands before touching any of the merchandise.

Hmm. I was impressed. We had our masks. We were wearing them, which we do as a matter of routine these days.

What impressed me is that many business owners are ignoring the lifting of the mask mandate declared by Gov. Greg Abbott. Hey, I mean no disrespect to Gov. Abbott, even though I believe he was premature in lifting the mandate.

I do mean to say something good about business establishments that continue to insist we mask up and stay the heck away from each other while the nation battles through this pandemic.

Masks: a new way of life?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

My ol’ noggin occasionally receives random thoughts, which I occasionally share on this blog. It did so just now, so here goes.

I am wondering if mask-wearing is going to become a permanent way of life for us in the U.S. of A. Why wonder that?

I have traveled a bit over the years. I have been to Asia and Europe and Latin America. One of the sights I cannot get out of my mind’s eye at the moment is the sight of all those folks in heavily polluted cities like Taipei, Bangkok, Delhi, Mumbai and Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon) who wear masks while they’re going about their daily business.

Why do they wear them? The air is so polluted they dare not expose their lungs to any more carcinogens than they already do … even with the masks covering their mouth and nose.

The COVID pandemic has produced at least one positive effect: a significant reduction in air pollution in places such as those I just mentioned. Perhaps those folks are no longer wearing masks at this moment to the extent I witnessed them while traveling to those cities. Then again, the pandemic eventually will wither and die.

Heck, I might have become so used to wearing a mask by the time they signal the “all clear” that I won’t want to stop wearing it.

What about small towns?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A headline in the Texas Tribune speaks loudly about some mayors’ response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to pull back his mask-wearing mandate.

It said: Texas’ largest cities will keep requiring masks in municipal buildings even after statewide mandate ends

I have no problem with what those mayors are doing, saying and how they are reacting to what I believe is a premature decision by Gov. Abbott.

My question is this: What are small-town and smaller-city mayors doing? Are they going to have the same reaction?

I live in a small town. Princeton, Texas, is home to about 13,000 residents, give or take a few hundred. We are perched along U.S. Highway 380 between McKinney to the west (population 200,000) and Farmersville to the east (population 5,000). I am acquainted with the mayors of Princeton and Farmersville. My strongest hope is that they, too, will invoke mask mandates in municipally owned buildings.

The Texas Tribune reports: Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and El Paso’s leaders announced Wednesday and Thursday that masks will be required to enter city-owned indoor spaces like libraries, police and fire department headquarters, convention centers and transportation hubs.

“I am going to issue an order mandating masks at all city-owned buildings. We have to do what we are legally allowed to do to get people to wear masks,” Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said on Twitter Thursday morning. “We also still need to practice social distancing. And we still need to avoid taking unnecessary risks. The pandemic is not over.”

Texas’ largest cities will require masks in municipal buildings | The Texas Tribune

No. It is not over. It is not yet close to being over. I will acknowledge, though, that the arrival of a third vaccine — from Johnson & Johnson — means that the end of this horror might be approaching.

Given that our smaller communities don’t get the kind of media attention that the big cities get, I want there to be a significant push by those city halls to get the word out immediately to their constituents. They need to let them know through any means necessary.

Of course, this strategy should apply to small cities and towns all across our vast state. Gov. Abbott can declare, I suppose, that state-owned buildings need not carry “Mask Required” signs. A state governed by politicians who adhere to the “local control is best” mantra should have no trouble allowing city halls to set their own rules regarding the best way to battle the COVID virus.

Let us not forget that President Biden has ordered masks and social distancing in all federal buildings at least for the first 100 days of his administration. My gut tells me he likely will extend that mandate well beyond that artificial deadline.

I will await word from my mayor, Brianna Chacon, on what she intends to do. I hope she stays the mask-wearing course.

Shuck the mask? No thanks

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is considering whether to lift the state’s mask mandate that’s been in effect since July.

My request to the governor? Don’t do it. Not yet. Please.

I am going to go with what I understand are guidelines set by medical experts familiar with the COVID-19 virus. The Texas Tribune reports:

The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people who have received two doses of the vaccine continue to avoid crowds, stay at least 6 feet away from people who live outside their households, and wear masks to cover their nose and mouth.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease doctor, has repeatedly said that he does not know when Americans will be able to return to normal, but that they may still need to continue wearing face masks into 2022.

Gov. Greg Abbott weighing end to mask order, other Texas coronavirus rules | The Texas Tribune

I have received both doses of the Pfizer vaccine. Effective tomorrow, my bride will have received her two doses. We’re going to keep wearing masks despite a decision to withdraw the mandate … if Gov. Abbott is foolish enough to do it.

Accepting the new normal

I just completed an errand run that took me to a grocery store, an automobile parts department, a battery shop and a bank lobby.

What do these places have in common? Every customer and business employee were masked up.

This is the new normal, or at least part of the new normal that I am finding more acceptable by the day. Actually, wearing a mask before entering a business has become virtually second nature to me.

This is how we must cope with life in the Age of the Pandemic. Or, at least until they find a vaccine that makes us (more of less) immune from it.

I don’t wear my mask out of some patriotic fervor, as Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has suggested as a reason to wear a mask. I don’t wear it to make a political statement of any sort, which is what fans of Donald Trump have suggested.

Oh, no. I wear the mask because I subscribe the theory promoted by medical experts that they help keep us clear of the killer virus.

I maintain social distance whenever possible; at times it isn’t, such as at the parts department today when several of us got crowded in a corner of the room. But we were all masked up!

Of all the new normal activities that still annoy me, I have to say this fist-bumping, and elbow-bumping when we greet people drives me a bit nuts. I am a handshake guy. I have a firm handshake and I enjoy grasping someone’s hand — be it a stranger or a friend — just to let them know I am glad to see them. I don’t have a bone-crushing grip … you know, like the one Superman used in “Superman II”  where he pulverized Zod’s hand.

The mandates about masks, social distancing and all the other preventative measures are OK by me. Indeed, it seems a bit strange to look around and hardly even notice that everyone is wearing a mask.

It’s called adaptability, man.

It’s not about ‘my body, my choice’ to wear a mask

My head is likely to explode the next time I hear a Donald Trump supporter blurt out that idiocy about mask-wearing, declaring that it’s “my body, my choice” to wear a mask.

Spoiler alert: I used the “head … explode” statement as a figure of speech.

But still, I keep hearing that mantra coming from those who think mask-wearing infringes on their civil liberties. I saw a woman on TV last night tell a reporter that her decision to forgo a mask during this coronavirus pandemic is strictly her choice and that the government has no right to dictate how she cares for her body.

Note to the lady — who was standing next to a “Trump-Pence” campaign sign — and to others who hold that preposterous view: The issue transcends your body and your choice by a factor of, oh, millions and millions.

Those who insist that they should be able to decide whether to wear a mask are embarking on a selfish, uncaring, thoughtless and reckless view of the world around them. They are endangering others, perhaps even their loved ones, by refusing to comply with government mandates.

I live in Texas, a state known for its residents’ independent outlook on life and liberty. However, our community in Collin County, I am proud to declare, has been relatively quiet in terms of mask-wearing. My wife and I don’t get out much these days, but when we do we see practically everyone around us wearing masks. I haven’t seen any protest signs, or individuals arguing with the cops who are empowered to enforce the mandate.

I went to the grocery store recently and eavesdropped on one woman griping to a store employee about the ordered issued by Gov. Greg Abbott. Good grief, lady. Get a grip.

I guess my bottom line on this specious argument is that the morons among us who bitch about mask-wearing as an infringement on their “constitutional rights” are entitled to forgo the masks.

Just stay the hell away from me, my family … and everyone else!