Anti-Masking Redux

Last year I told the story of a gringo who was removed from his flight for refusing to wear Peru’s mandated face shield in addition to a mask. This redux is about my conversion to anti-masking.

I still follow rules and certainly laws. The character in the previous article lost time and money, but the more fervent anti-maskers are ending up on no-fly lists. I can’t imagine that fate for myself or any other expat / wanderlust.

I’m not really an anti-masker in the sense of what most people think an anti-masker is. I don’t deny that COVID-19 was a brutal pandemic that killed millions of people, and society had to implement public health protocols to manage our resources and of course minimize deaths. But I have been defaulting to no mask and have long abandoned the other precautions.

At our family Thanksgiving, I said I was thankful the pandemic was over. I sensed some silent scoffs from the Banana Republicans. Within a week the Omicron variant arrived in the U.S. But I didn’t view my toast premature. I had already read a little about Omicron in the UK, and it seemed to align with what I had already come to understand about the evolution of a coronavirus. They mutate to survive, but while those mutations tend to make it more transmissible, they also make it less lethal. In order for a virus to spread far and wide, especially in the age of modern medicine, it needs to fly under the radar. And nothing does that better than being nonlethal, if not asymptomatic.

So even in the Omicron surge, which added over 100,000 deaths to the U.S. tally, I behaved as if the pandemic were over. The vast majority of those deaths were unvaccinated people who ignored the rules. There’s nothing I can do for them. It’s just a small-scale natural selection, pa mejorar la raza pues.

I’m the coach of my son’s basketball team. One of the children tested positive, near the peak of the Omicron surge in fact, so they cancelled our weekly practice and game. I read the gym policy and confirmed with the manager that, if my child is vaccinated, we can still come to the gym, masks off no less. I emailed all the parents to offer a makeup practice for those players who are vaccinated, and we held one with no masks. This practice was held before the cancelled game and during the required quarantine, with the caveat that only vaccinated people attend. Nobody asked for proof. I only asked parents to respect the gym’s policy. That was enough for me.

My daughters take dance classes at an elite art school, and implied in “elite art” is mad woke, and they still require masks. I follow the rules, but I voiced my opinion to management. And when I say “voiced my opinion,” I mean I asked in a friendly manner something to the tune of, “I’m boosted and the children are vaxxed. What’s the deal? How long are we going to be doing this?”

The manager amicably responded that he didn’t think they would require masks for much longer. A board meeting is upcoming, and he would push for a switch to “recommended.” That was a while ago, so I’m going to request an update (respectfully of course).

I am all about civic responsibility and being safe. But unless we see a variant deadlier than Delta, the pandemic is over as far as I’m concerned. If the hospitals aren’t filling up, I’m back to normal.

Interestingly, while I’ve been back to normal, the United States daily death toll has only recently fallen below 1,000 per day. The seven-day rolling average fell to 982 on March 18, less than three weeks ago. The lion’s share of those deaths were unvaccinated (as high as 10-to-1 during peaks). There is nothing I can do to save them. I’ve done my part. Time to move on.

15 comments

  1. Why am I not dead? I am 65, never vaccinated, I have high blood pressure, and we are 2 years plus, into this “deadly” pandemic. Yes, a lot of old and/or fat people have died but why not me? Not even a pinky amputated. Yes, I’ve seen a few stories about very healthy people who didn’t get vaccinated and died. They are a few. A few healthy people die from other rare diseases every year. Why hasn’t Covid killed me? Maybe it’s just luck. Maybe it’s because I don’t smoke, drink, do drugs, I’m not fat, I eat healthy, I exercise regularly, and I probably have a rocking immune system. I also wore a cheap mask in public for 2 years, but I’m starting to back off on that now. Why do I have high blood pressure? I can’t explain that one, but I have all the other markers of good health and I rarely get any kind of cold or take medicine (except Alka Seltzer). I’ve never had a heart attack or stroke. As for Covid, the best defense is a good immune system. We’ve known for about 2 years now that being fat raises your risk of dying from Covid (and probably everything else). If you’re still fat you just don’t care that much about your health (I’m addressing the generic ‘you’, not Colin). I’m not saying the vaccine is bad or it’s a conspiracy or don’t get vaccinated. If you want the shot get as many as you want. Whatever makes you happy. A surgeon told me once “There are no guarantees in medicine”. My health is my responsibility.

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    1. I didn’t get into the weeds on vaccinated vs. unvaccinated numbers, but suffice to say that while unvaccinated people make up the lion’s share of deaths, the percentage of unvaccinated people who die from COVID is still very low. Both things can be true. From a “micro” standpoint, it’s impossible to pinpoint your likelihood of dying given less than perfect data we have. But even in worst-case assumptions, unvaccinated people still probably have less than a 1% chance of dying after contracting the virus. Base case will be closer to 0%. And without assuming you contract the virus, your chances of dying are infinitesimally small, numbers that most people would round to zero in other contexts.

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      1. Yes, I’d say it’s a numbers game. Your percentages are better if you’re vaccinated. Your percentages are better if you’re not fat. I’d say my risk is about the same as a fat person who has been vaccinated, but I may be wrong. There are no guarantees in medicine. There’s no guarantee you will survive if you are vaccinated. And there’s no guarantee you will die if you are not vaccinated. So why don’t I get vaccinated and improve my odds even more? I don’t like needles, and it’s not just one needle. And it’s not just 2 needles. And now, for me, it’s not just 3 needles. When does it ever end? It will be every year like the flu or every 6 months maybe. The drug companies love it. I don’t do flu shots either and I didn’t do any malaria or anything when I went to Colombia, 10 times.

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      2. One issue, Colin, is that (here, anyway) to get vaccinated for covid you sign a waiver of indemnity. The only information most people have is from the Health Authority, who are terrified of the image of body bags queued up “too late” outside hospitals, and this fear has been propagandically spread, by media crop sprayers, over the population at large. Effective psychosocial reinforcement to enter a procedure with (as Steve says) no guarantee of anything and, worse, no idea that a guarantee will be useful.

        Commenting also on Steve’s below, by proxy, as a direct re`ply to his reply is not possible. Cheers.

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      3. Steve, I’d say your strategy works as long as it works. And if it works forever, you win. The risk of course, and this goes for Dave and anybody else, is what happens if the strategy stops working. That would mean you happened to catch the virus, get sick and die of COVID. While it is a small chance, it is a non-zero percentage. And if that small percentage strikes, then somebody at your funeral will think, like when somebody dies in a car accident with no seatbelt on, “Here lies a dipshit.” Do you want that implied on your gravestone? That’s a risk / regret everybody faces with the decision not to get vaxxed. Many people wouldn’t care, after all they’re dead, but I think I would.

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      4. I wonder if I already caught the virus but I was asymptomatic or lightly symptomatic. A few months ago the CDC was saying that most people in the USA would catch the Omicron strand because it was spreading so fast. There were a few days in February when I had a light cough, a headache, this or that for a few days and then it passed. If I did get the virus, either it is a wimp or my immune system is very strong.

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    2. Steve, I am you except for less years* before “Estimated Check Out”, still working on the overweight (daily recorded) and BP/Sats (daily recorded).

      *well past yours. Hope we never catch up! So far, “I See No Ships” (Horatio Lord Nelson) regarding (gov) propaganda.

      Incidentally BP shows less lying on my side than any other position …

      I agree about being fat is the biggest risk in these days and have posted this heaps of times but nobody takes any notice (in either England or Perú). It’s concerning that none of the nations in my scope have implemented Fat Challenge Campaigns. It would be such an easy thing to do.

      Someone quoted elsewhere that “I won’t get a jab even if it stops me doing something I want to do.” HERE our genius (now ex-) Minister of Health got decreed that prohibits anyone over 18 entering an “enclosed public or private space” unless up to date jabbed: and then we are told “it’s not obligatory”. Tell that to anyone needing to renew a permit, driving licence, contract, or get wheels serviced, etcetera. Still, one complies and I have good support where it matters. In countries described by our lovely mentor Colin as “sXXthoXXs” there are sometimes ways round things, the door guardians will often accept one’s word instead of demanding the Cert of Vax.

      Analysis of Scottish, Canadian, and Kiwi statistics are beginning to show a trend, not only unwelcome to the pro-vaccine demographic, but also somewhat concerning to the world at large.

      As to your “never got ill” this also seems to apply to our multitudinous street-blocking itinerant Venezuelan (and local) stall traders, but also the several million who Came Down From The Hill and slept in Lima parks and streets for months around the time of the last elections.

      I feel more for those whose jobs, and whose childrens’ education, force them into a decision which really ought to be theirs to take, and whose possible consequences are not legally indemnifiable.

      Thanks

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      1. Why exactly Peru got hit so hard is a multi-factor complexity still being studied, but from what I’ve read a major factor was that lockdowns were unviable for many in Peru, specifically for the aforementioned who Came Down From The Hill. While I often refer to Peru as Rich AF, it is still Peru, it is still Latin America, and many people are quite poor. Those poor in the hills may be better off than their counterparts in other countries, but they still live hand to mouth. If they don’t work, they don’t eat. Many are unbanked, so the government couldn’t just deposit stimulus into their accounts. They had to queue at the local bank. Many don’t have refrigerators, they can’t store food more than a day. So they have to go to the store.

        When life in lockdown became unviable for them, many went back to their rural hometowns, fanning out across the country and inadvertently spreading the virus throughout the provinces. That’s my probably premature understanding of driving factor why Peru got hit hardest in the world.

        Also notable that the first vaccine being distributed was the Chinito, Sinopharm, which doesn’t work very well. I know gringo expats who are vaxxed with that. My father-in-law is a police officer, for whom the government reserves the best of American bioengineering. All his family too, so all my immediate in-laws got Pfizer.

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  2. bro, I stopped reading you a long time ago when for some reason you were shilling for a liberal politician (can’t remember who). I wanted to check back to see where you were and it looks like you’re more cucked than ever. Holy fuck, I get that it’s embarrassing to admit you were duped but wake up man. You used to have a sick blog writing about shit people actually wanted to read about. Now it seems like you’re trying to be an alternative media source that is writing pretty much the same thing that you could read everywhere else.

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    1. I haven’t shilled for any politician liberal or otherwise, but I have spent considerable energy arguing against one in particular: Donald Trump (see tag national disgrace). The only other issue I’ll take with your comment, for your own edification, is the word, “cucked.”

      An email went out to subscribers a year or so ago on the rampant cuckoldry in the Trump movement, ironic given this movement in its infancy branding anti-Trump conservatives as “cuckservatives.” I wrote that email after reports that staunch Trump ally Jerry Falwell Jr. used to watch a Florida pool boy ride his wife. I also cited decades-old reports of Roger Stone advertising for “muscular, well-hung” black men to perform for him on his wife. You can see those ads here, find Stone’s email address “players02@hotmail”.

      The cuckoldry in populist conservatism has continued at a rate unseen not just in politics, but any subculture that comes to mind. Kanye may not be deemed a cuckold given he’s no longer married, but he’s pathetic enough (and of course wore the red hat to the Oval) to warrant mention. I haven’t seen confirmation of Don Jr.’s wife Kimberly Guilfoyle moonlighting, but reports of her behavior at donor events suggests it’s only a matter of time.

      The big question I didn’t ask in the email was, (for God’s sake!) WHO’S LAYING MELANIA? I’d allege you’re a credulous romantic if you think it’s the man himself, or green if you think she isn’t getting it from anybody. Personally, I’d bet dollars to donuts that, after the passing of the man himself, the gossip rags will reveal whatever discreet relationship checks her box.

      Maybe a little more self-aware, most right-wing populists seem to have dropped the term “cuck” as an insult given the glass house they occupy. But it’s more than that. It’s a clear case of psychological projection. Cuckoldry is so widespread in MAGA world that I wonder if it’s more than just highly correlated. Maybe is a formative element, a necessary seed.

      As consolation, there were a surprising number or replies to my email, from both Trumpians and anti-Trumpians, saying that cuckoldry is in fact a power move. Men like Falwell and Stone exert power over their wives, they are “topping from the bottom” as one reader put it … at least when it’s done in the performative fashion. It may not be powerful if they don’t get to watch, as I doubt the man himself would, and certainly not Kanye. Not sure about Junior.

      So yeah, glass house, CAUCIÓN!

      For those looking to read those pieces not fit for public consumption, subscribe to the newsletter here!

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      1. Very lazy reply. Where’s the evidence of such? Btw, Roger Stone about 10 years older at that time than his description on that link. I guess as a typical democrat, who needs the evidence when the accusation is so severe? 🤣🤣🤣 Who’s dick do you prefer to suck? Hillary Clinton’s or Michael Obama’s?

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  3. I saw a story from the New York Times tonight. The CDC is saying at least half of Americans have been infected with Covid at least once. This interests me because I have always felt the number of positive tests under reports the number infected. This is logical since many are asymptomatic. There has often been a 1% death rate figure tossed around. About 1% of those who test positive will die. Now the rate may be going down because there are pills/treatments to help survive. But this NY Times report means the death rate is more like 1/2 % (and most of those are fat or have been regular smokers). I calculate the 1/2% because about 1 million have died as of today (990,000). There are about 330 million Americans. I bet there have been at least 200 million infections because some have had it twice or more. 1 million divided by 200 million is 1/2 percent. But, I know, if you’re one of the unlucky 1/2 percent, the death rate for you is 100%.

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    1. Half a percent would sounds high. All my calculations considered each case. But for one person, your method is more practical. What does it matter if somebody gets through it once or twice, only to die on the third time? Any percentage we ultimately land on will naturally be skewed high compared to who is left, given the dead count the most vulnerable and earliest hit. It’s still very low. That’s why the seriousness of this virus was so easy to dismiss.

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