Jarred by Loosened CDC Mask Guidance, NYT Cheers on Forever Maskers

May 20th, 2021 1:38 AM

Almost a week after the CDC’s new, looser guidance on mask-wearing, The New York Times still hasn’t recovered from this loss of governmental control over its citizens. On Wednesday, reporters Julie Bosman and Sarah Mervosh channeled the paper’s liberal precaution: “Under New Honor System on Masks, Americans Ask, ‘Am I to Trust These People?’”

“These People?” Such ethnocentrism was shocking to read in a Times headline. The text box relayed: “Guidance from the C.D.C. is greeted with skepticism.” Whatever happened to science-embracing Democrats?

The panic came right from the get-go, seeking to put the burden back on the vaccinated:

[When Tori Saylor] summoned an elevator in her apartment building, she confronted her first real test of the new era: Twice, the doors opened to reveal people who were not wearing masks, and twice, she let the elevator go.

“Am I to trust these people, having never met them?” said Ms. Saylor, who has multiple sclerosis and gets an infusion therapy that compromises her immune system….

These brave Times journalists put a lot of stock in faithfully following overzealous Covid precautions and made clear they weren’t ready to see other people’s faces just yet (click “expand”):

Our capacity to trust other people’s honesty has already been tested, and fibs -- or omissions -- may have happened along the way. Did every person who drove across a state line follow 14-day quarantine rules? Did everyone who got an early vaccine fit the eligibility rules at the time?

So it is no surprise that the latest honor code -- the federal government’s guidance encouraging vaccinated Americans to take off their masks -- was greeted with skepticism in parts of the country that have not already done so.


Health experts say that vaccinated people should be protected from severe disease, even if people around them are not vaccinated and not masked. But the unusual sight of bare faces has arrived at a time when Americans’ trust in institutions and one another is particularly fragile.

The report glancingly acknowledged Democrats were “more likely to overstate risks from the virus” and thus would find the new guidance “most jarring.” Apparently, so does the Times itself.

Sarah Maslin Nir also seemed sympathetic to the Masks Forever contingent in Tuesday’s edition: “Vaccinated but Keeping Mask On, Maybe for Good.” Nir indulged neuroticism, hypochrondria, and hopes from one retired kindergarten teacher that students continue to mask up (click “expand”):

Whenever Joe Glickman heads out for groceries, he places an N95 mask over his face and tugs a cloth mask on top of it. He then pulls on a pair of goggles.

He has used this safety protocol for the past 14 months. It did not change after he contracted the coronavirus last November. It didn’t budge when, earlier this month, he became fully vaccinated. And even though President Biden said on Thursday that fully vaccinated people do not have to wear a mask, Mr. Glickman said he planned to stay the course.

In fact, he said, he plans to do his grocery run double-masked and goggled for at least the next five years.


Leni Cohen, 51, a retired kindergarten teacher from New York City who has a compromised immune system, said she planned to continue wearing a mask when she helped out as a substitute teacher. But what she would like more is for her students to stay masked.

Seriously? Imagine being this broken.

Alas, The Times framed this as normal:

For people like Mr. Glickman, a combination of anxiety, murky information about new virus variants and the emergence of an obdurate and sizable faction of vaccine holdouts means mask-free life is on hold -- possibly forever.

Wearing a mask forever sounds pretty “obdurate” too, doesn’t it?

It’s revealing that, after a year in which mask-less citizens have endured a year of shrieking confrontations with pro-mask fanatics, The Times only covered the mild reactions against people wearing masks:

Last year, protesters staged rallies against official requirements to wear masks, built pyres to burn them in protest and touched off wild screaming matches when confronted about not wearing them inside supermarkets.

But as more Americans become vaccinated and virus restrictions loosen, masks are at the center of a second round in the country’s culture brawl. This time, people who choose to continue to cover their faces have become targets of public ire.

Of all people, Nir found a tweet from disgraced anchor and liberal media hero Dan Rather to make the case: “I’m confused Why should people care if someone wants to wear a mask outside?”