To mask or not to mask

MAY 7: Masked residents walk through the intersection at Chelsea Street and Broadway. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Changing COVID-19 rules create confusion, questions


What’s next for all of us trying to work our way back to the new normal after the COVID-19 disaster seems to be vanishing – at least in our mindsets?

That’s difficult to say.

Many millions of Americans are showing little to no interest in being vaccinated, a sure sign that superstition and ignorance have gained a foothold over common sense and medical science.

Without the entire society or close to it being vaccinated, the virus remains a player attacking at will those who tempt the fates.

Maybe 600,000 American deaths were not enough to prove the danger of the virus.

Everett’s numbers of those being infected and dying have ceased to be meaningful measures of anything except for that of a virus in retreat.

This doesn’t take away the pain and suffering caused by the virus to so many people who lost loved ones or who became violently ill at the height of the pandemic.

The retreat of the virus is a moment of reflection and action for most of us.

On the one hand, we know the virus remains out there able to do us in.

On the other hand, we feel so much more confident now, especially those of us who have been vaccinated, that we cannot get sick from the virus.

It is also a moment of mass confusion and competing public health assertions that tend to raise more questions than answers in making the new road we are going down clear and without complication.

Despite the governor’s order last week allowing walking about the city’s streets and outdoor venues without masks, masked faces seemed to be abundant throughout the city.

Even newer habits developed over the span of a year don’t break easily.

Masks and social distancing must still be practiced inside buildings, restaurants, and inside stores of all kinds.

There is a real and apparent disconnect against wearing no mask outside and then having to don it inside during these times of lower infection rates, deaths, and hospitalizations.

So many people seen wearing masks outside is an indication of how difficult the transition is going to be to give up the masks entirely if that moment finally arrives – which it should by the end of the summer.

Also difficult to predict is to what extent Everett residents and residents all over the state of Massachusetts will be to attend events with large crowds.

Will Everett Stadium and Fenway Park invite larger crowds but only if wearing facemasks?

Is this the new future we are staring at?

All the new cleanliness additives – washing hands, washing surfaces, attempts to sterilize and to make touch-safe and employees standing behind plexiglass…when does this stuff come down?

Does it come down?

Hard to predict.

At the Encore Boston Harbor Casino and Hotel that state will shortly be relaxing crowd requirements.

When will Encore reach 100% occupancy as has been reached in Las Vegas?

Soon enough, it is predicted by local health officials.

How much about our lives will remain the same?

How much about our lives will change?

These are the competing questions that will be answered over time.

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