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The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Smoove_B »

It's interesting what the difference in location makes. I was out yesterday at the grocery store and Costco, and mask compliance was darned near 100% yet.
Indeed. Here in NJ we're still required to wear a mask indoors and anecdotally it seems like most are complying (though I'll admit my sample size is really small here). However, word on the street is that our governor will be removing the indoor masking requirement this week and I'll be very curious to see what happens, particularly in my ultra-red corner of the state. We're only about 42% fully vaccinated in my area with ~50% that have received at least one shot. Because we're mostly rural I'm sure density is going to keep many people safe, but I'm fully expecting levels to remain low all summer and then if vaccination rates don't significantly increase, there will be all kinds of cluster outbreaks in the Fall as activities change.

Maybe then people will learn.

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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Ralph-Wiggum »

gbasden wrote:
It's interesting what the difference in location makes. I was out yesterday at the grocery store and Costco, and mask compliance was darned near 100% yet. After not getting sick at all this winter, I'm probably going to continue wearing a mask to do crowded shopping.
More surprising was the lack of masks at my local Publix. A few weeks back I would say 95% of people in the store wore masks; yesterday it was maybe 50%. In general, the maskless people seemed to be younger (<40). I even saw at least one store employee without a mask.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Blackhawk »

Indiana is doing a fantastic job. Since only fully vaccinated people are able to go maskless in stores, I'd estimate that Indiana is above 95% vaccinated!

I went to the grocery store yesterday. It was fairly busy. Two people were wearing masks. I was one of them.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by malchior »

This guy has completely his mind. It is possible (but far from likely according to the experts I've read) but seems much more likely they happened to be in the city at the epicenter of the origin.

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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Smoove_B »

I really don't know who to believe here. Virologists and scientists...or Nate Silver. I look forward to the day when Nate Silver never talks about anything public health related ever again.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by malchior »

Smoove_B wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 5:29 pm I really don't know who to believe here. Virologists and scientists...or Nate Silver. I look forward to the day when Nate Silver never talks about anything public health related ever again.
Yeah. I'll never give his views on much anything weight again. He has blown his credibility IMO.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Kraken »

The origin of the virus is still uncertain, and an accidental lab leak hasn't been ruled out. So saith the WHO. It's considered highly unlikely, "However the theory that the virus might have come from a leak in a laboratory "requires further investigation, potential with additional missions involving specialist experts," Dr Tedros said on Tuesday. "Let me say clearly that as far as WHO is concerned, all hypothesis remain on the table," he added.
In response to the WHO report, the US and 13 allies including South Korea, Australia and the UK voiced concern over the findings and urged China to provide "full access" to experts.

The statement said the mission to Wuhan was "significantly delayed and lacked access to complete, original data and samples".

"Scientific missions like these should be able to do their work under conditions that produce independent and objective recommendations and findings."
While it's hard to prove a negative, my mind remains open until the question is investigated to everyone's full satisfaction.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by gilraen »

It's conceivable that the lab mishandled whatever other coronavirus research they had (not necessarily in 2019, maybe earlier). Some coronavirus strain did leak and mixed with other coronaviruses in the wild to produce the exact COVID-19 variant that could jump to humans AND was "smarter" than, say, the 2001 SARS variant. Even then, though, you wouldn't call COVID-19 "lab-grown".
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Kraken »

It's also conceivable that the lab isolated SARS-CoV-2, was studying it, and had a whoopsie. We just don't know. To be clear, I don't believe that it was "lab-grown" in the sense of being artificially engineered.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by El Guapo »

Kraken wrote: Sun May 23, 2021 9:28 pm It's also conceivable that the lab isolated SARS-CoV-2, was studying it, and had a whoopsie. We just don't know. To be clear, I don't believe that it was "lab-grown" in the sense of being artificially engineered.
Yeah I think the "lab leak" hypothesis sometimes gets intertwined with "bioweapon" theories, when it can also cover situations where there's a leak from a lab doing normal virus research.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by ImLawBoy »

Grocery store yesterday had signs posted saying that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks, but all others did. I'd say we still had about 95% of people wearing masks, including all but one employee (who had his mask under his chin - I suspect he'll get in trouble if someone reported him). It'll be interesting to see how this evolves.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by LordMortis »

ImLawBoy wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:14 am Grocery store yesterday had signs posted saying that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks, but all others did. I'd say we still had about 95% of people wearing masks, including all but one employee (who had his mask under his chin - I suspect he'll get in trouble if someone reported him). It'll be interesting to see how this evolves.
Costco was like this on Saturday. I was surprised that the 95% was about right. I was also surprised at the amount of people still wearing masks below their noses. Why not shed the pretense when you've been given carte blanche? This suggests I've been out of touch with these people all along, which makes no sense, as I've seen them being told to wear them above the nose in the past and watched them comply until out of range and pull their masks right back down. I think there must be a glitch in the Matrix. Still it's a pleasant surprise, generally.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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I noticed yesterday on the main street in my neighborhood (Jamaica Plain, in Boston) that 95% of people were still masking outdoors - highest rate I've seen lately.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by LawBeefaroni »

ImLawBoy wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:14 am Grocery store yesterday had signs posted saying that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks, but all others did. I'd say we still had about 95% of people wearing masks, including all but one employee (who had his mask under his chin - I suspect he'll get in trouble if someone reported him). It'll be interesting to see how this evolves.
Haven't seen a sign like that yet, still seeing mask requirement in stores and restaurants indoors. Will be interesting to see if the range is still requiring it. They're are more of an anti-mask demographic, but I will say they enforced the requirement rigorously and, unsurprisingly, had zero pushback.


I took the kids to watch a friend play football at Montrose beach/park on Saturday. Kids on the field had to wears masks. No one else was wearing them. None of the beach goers. Cops had blocked all cars from entering by the time we left (and forces us on to NB LSD!). Not sure of it was a capacity thing or if they were just shutting it down. Did see one drug bust.

On the drive down Belmont through Boystown and Lakeview traffic was extremely slow so me and the kids engaged in people watching. Noticed very few masks. Saw several European style greetings (kiss on the cheek).

Pray that the vaccines win out because people are done masking if it isn't required.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Isgrimnur »

LawBeefaroni wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:06 pmBoystown
Northalsted
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by LawBeefaroni »

Isgrimnur wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:08 pm
LawBeefaroni wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:06 pmBoystown
Northalsted
Sears Tower
Comisky
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by ImLawBoy »

LawBeefaroni wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:06 pm
ImLawBoy wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 11:14 am Grocery store yesterday had signs posted saying that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks, but all others did. I'd say we still had about 95% of people wearing masks, including all but one employee (who had his mask under his chin - I suspect he'll get in trouble if someone reported him). It'll be interesting to see how this evolves.
Haven't seen a sign like that yet, still seeing mask requirement in stores and restaurants indoors.
FWIW, this was the Mariano's at Webster and Ashland. I'm guessing they're following a Kroger nationwide-policy or something that says they can lift the mask requirement if the local authorities do.
LawBeefaroni wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:16 pm
Isgrimnur wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:08 pm
LawBeefaroni wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 12:06 pmBoystown
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Preach on.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Smoove_B »

Big news for NJ:
NEW: Effective May 28th, the statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted.

Businesses and entities overseeing indoor spaces may continue to require face masks for employees, customers, and/or guests.

Effective June 4th, we will remove all indoor gathering limits.

We will also lift the 30% limit on large indoor venues with a fixed seating capacity of 1,000 or greater.
Last edited by Smoove_B on Mon May 24, 2021 1:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by malchior »

Smoove_B wrote: Mon May 24, 2021 1:34 pm Big news for NJ:
NEW: Effective May 28th, the statewide indoor mask mandate will be lifted.

Businesses and entities overseeing indoor spaces may continue to require face masks for employees, customers, and/or guests.
Just in time for Memorial Day weekend. What a surprise!
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by LawBeefaroni »

LE PECQ, France (AP) — Social media influencers in France with hundreds of thousands of followers say a mysterious advertising agency offered to pay them if they agreed to smear Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine with negative fake stories.

French YouTuber Léo Grasset was among those contacted. He said Tuesday that he was offered a potentially lucrative but also hush-hush deal to make bogus claims that Pfizer’s vaccine poses a deadly risk and that regulators and mainstream media are covering up the supposed dangers.
Game afoot.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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Anton’s emails included a password-protected link to a set of instructions in error-strewn English for the would-be campaign.
Trump's Twitter sent the email? (I know, pot kettle)

Also, I don't know who Léo Grasset is but thank you.
Last edited by LordMortis on Wed May 26, 2021 1:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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LawBeefaroni wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 12:47 pm
LE PECQ, France (AP) — Social media influencers in France with hundreds of thousands of followers say a mysterious advertising agency offered to pay them if they agreed to smear Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine with negative fake stories.

French YouTuber Léo Grasset was among those contacted. He said Tuesday that he was offered a potentially lucrative but also hush-hush deal to make bogus claims that Pfizer’s vaccine poses a deadly risk and that regulators and mainstream media are covering up the supposed dangers.
Game afoot.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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Assuming it's legit, this is just...sad. :(


Father in Kentucky sobbingly promises daughter $2,000 to not get vaccinated
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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Good news Octavious, your employer in NJ no longer needs to accommodate the work from home ability you've had since the pandemic started:

NEW: Today, I’ll issue an Executive Order giving additional guidance and flexibility to employers – especially those in office settings – as they look to their own continued return to normal operating practices.

This order will be effective June 4th.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Little Raven »

Huh.
President Joe Biden announced Wednesday that he has ordered a closer intelligence review of what he said were two equally plausible scenarios of the origins of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Biden revealed that earlier this year he tasked the intelligence community with preparing “a report on their most up-to-date analysis of the origins of Covid-19, including whether it emerged from human contact with an infected animal or from a laboratory accident.”

“As of today, the U.S. Intelligence Community has ‘coalesced around two likely scenarios’ but has not reached a definitive conclusion on this question,” Biden said in a statement.
If Nate Silver ends up being right about this, do we have to build a statue of him?
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Smoove_B »

I will continue to follow the scientific community that has overwhelming stated that while it's *technically* possible this was a lab leak, there's no evidence to suggest it was and in fact the evidence they have seen suggests the opposite - that it's a naturally occurring phenomenon. I've yet to see a respected virologist or zoonotic infectious disease researcher voice anything suggesting it was intentional. Of course as good scientists they're open to the possibility, but so far nothing has suggested it in any way.

Officially requiring an investigation and a report makes sense as a way to officially put it to rest. Or to let the usual suspects ramp up their insanity and claim it was a conspiracy from the get go.

They already collectively tipped their hand when they continue to try to pin this on China as a way to justify escalation or whatever policy agenda they're pushing. It has nothing to do with actual science; they want to have a nation to blame to further their own agenda.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by malchior »

Exactly. This is a way to distract from their failures by blaming the external party. Also it is a useful context to beat on war drums. The outcome of which is an avenue of attack on Biden for being weak on China. If the GOP is yelling about something in unison you had better believe it is almost certainly part of an agenda.

As an aside I expect it's part of a trap and Biden is going to walk right into it.

Edit. Also Ken had a near perfect tweet about this

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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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Smoove_B wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 3:20 pm I will continue to follow the scientific community that has overwhelming stated that while it's *technically* possible this was a lab leak, there's no evidence to suggest it was and in fact the evidence they have seen suggests the opposite - that it's a naturally occurring phenomenon. I've yet to see a respected virologist or zoonotic infectious disease researcher voice anything suggesting it was intentional. Of course as good scientists they're open to the possibility, but so far nothing has suggested it in any way.
I think this is where a lot of people wind up talking past each other. I'm not aware of any serious person suggesting that the virus was *intentionally* released. That's obviously insane, as why would China release a deadly virus inside China. On top of that, I'm also not aware of any serious person suggesting that COVID was developed intentionally as some sort of potential bioweapon. That's marginally less insane (though I'm not sure I understand how COVID could have been a useful bioweapon), but it's also veering heavily into conspiracy theory land.

What respectable people are considering is whether a Wuhan lab was conducting virus research as part of normal disease / virus research (I still don't totally understand what "gain of function" research is, but I understand it's something that normal virus researchers do regularly), and then had a procedural lapse and wound up accidentally letting the virus escape. That seems like a non-crazy possibility, and one that I understand that respectable experts are considering. I'm not sure whether there's a lot of evidence one way or the other on that.

Also seems like Twitter is veering sharply from "any lab leak theory is a nutty conspiracy theory" to "lab leak is the most plausible explanation for the virus origin".
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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Sorry, I was being sloppy. I didn't mean to say (or imply) intentionally released. Instead, "Intentionally created", i.e. not something that just came into existence based on what we already know about zoonotic illnesses.

"Gain of function" is just fancy talk for scientists manipulating organisms in some way to increase things like transmissiblity or infectiousness - tweaking genetic elements to see what happens. For science.

Again, maybe to much to read, but from 2015, a paper, from deep inside the conspiracy. I'd have to look, but IIRC so much of this comes from being blindsided by SARS and MERS in the 2000s and the real concern it could have spiraled into something much, much worse.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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Smoove_B wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 4:11 pm Sorry, I was being sloppy. I didn't mean to say (or imply) intentionally released. Instead, "Intentionally created", i.e. not something that just came into existence based on what we already know about zoonotic illnesses.

"Gain of function" is just fancy talk for scientists manipulating organisms in some way to increase things like transmissiblity or infectiousness - tweaking genetic elements to see what happens. For science.

Again, maybe to much to read, but from 2015, a paper, from deep inside the conspiracy. I'd have to look, but IIRC so much of this comes from being blindsided by SARS and MERS in the 2000s and the real concern it could have spiraled into something much, much worse.
So do I understand you correctly that while it's theoretically possible that Chinese scientists intentionally created COVID in a lab as part of "gain of function" scientific research (not as a bioweapon), but that it's very unlikely based upon what we know? What is it that we know that makes this unlikely (vs. natural mutation in the wild)?

Also, in theory COVID could have arisen in the wild, been isolated in a lab for study, and then been accidentally released, right? Is that also unlikely?
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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El Guapo wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 4:34 pm So do I understand you correctly that while it's theoretically possible that Chinese scientists intentionally created COVID in a lab as part of "gain of function" scientific research (not as a bioweapon), but that it's very unlikely based upon what we know? What is it that we know that makes this unlikely (vs. natural mutation in the wild)?
That was Fuacci v Paul snit posted here not too long ago where Paul was trying to corner Faucci in to saying the US quietly and knowingly funded Chinese research into gain of function research in China that created the virus. Faucci clearly would not flat out say with authority that China did was not doing this research but he would flat say if they were, then they weren't doing it with the knowledge and funding of US gov't agencies. (So many threads here and being embedded in twitter, I can't hope to find it)

Edit : Found it. Smoove put in the pictures thread...

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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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El Guapo wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 4:34 pm So do I understand you correctly that while it's theoretically possible that Chinese scientists intentionally created COVID in a lab as part of "gain of function" scientific research (not as a bioweapon), but that it's very unlikely based upon what we know? What is it that we know that makes this unlikely (vs. natural mutation in the wild)?

Also, in theory COVID could have arisen in the wild, been isolated in a lab for study, and then been accidentally released, right? Is that also unlikely?
Yes. I'll try to rank this based on my understanding. However, it's not a linear progression of likelihood from 1-5

(1) Chinese scientists created SARS-CoV-2 in a lab for nefarious purposes
(2) Chinese scientists found and then modified SARS-CoV-2 in a lab and released it for nefarious purposes
(3) Chinese scientists found and then modified SARS-CoV-2 and accidentally infected themselves
(4) Chinese scientists discovered SARS-CoV-2 in the wild and were researching at, then accidentally infected themselves
(5) SARS-CoV-2 randomly appeared in nature

#1-#3 are the scenarios being pushed to further some type of agenda against China. These are the least likely scenarios based on the virologists and zoonotic researchers I trust saying the genetic and physiological nature of SARS-CoV-2 does not suggest any type of human manipulation (in part or in whole).

#4 is certainly possible, thought it also seems unlikely, mainly because you'd expect scientists that accidentally infect themselves to not rush out and spread it. However, I guess if they they infected themselves and were all asymptomatic they could have inadvertently introduced it outside the lab; I'm not sure how you'd prove this.

#5 is still the most likely culprit just based on what we know about how viruses jump species all the time. It's also part of the reason research exists - to figure out if we can understand why they jump and then if they do, how could they be really bad for humans ("gain of function") - what type of mutations or changes are needed? How likely is that to happen? Would a jump result in a really deadly disease that isn't highly communicable? Or would it involve jumping and it's not deadly at all but spreads pretty easily? Could it then evolve into something more problematic? This is where Rand Paul is talking out of his ass (or mouth, same thing) and trying to come up with some nefarious motivation for research, completely oblivious to the idea that emerging infectious diseases is a whole field of study and something scientists from around the globe had been watching.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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I will say I had a hard time keeping my mask on today. Im 2 weeks out from my 2nd shot so Im good with that part. But it was HOT today and humid. It was hot in the stores too and I could barely breath in my KN95 mask. It also got wet to where my face that was covered was covered in water. I actually had to remove it a couple times to breath for a min and wipe my face off. So basically it was useless. I cant keep this up. By next week it will be 3 weeks after my 2nd shot so Im going to go maskless and carry it with me and only wear it if asked to. The worker in CVS saw me having trouble and said they dont ask anyone to wear one and even the workers dont. I also saw a lot of elderly not wearing them. You'd think the ones who would probably die would bother with one but guess not. I cant protect people forever.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by dfs »

SW Ohio and running errands today places were 40/60 mask-less. Bakery/Fishing Store both required a mask. Grocery Store/Drug Store/Liquor Store were all no-mask required. Both of my work locations have gone no-mask required. The governor is lifting mask requirements next Wednesday.

The folks I know who have not received a vaccine were the ones complaining loudest about having to wear a mask. A buddy and I were talking about it and our take was if non-vaccinated folk don't wear a mask and get it I'll feel sad for them, but not responsible.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

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If its their choice to not get it or wear a mask I wouldn't feel sad for them. Id be more likely to point.

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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by El Guapo »

Smoove_B wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 5:35 pm
El Guapo wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 4:34 pm So do I understand you correctly that while it's theoretically possible that Chinese scientists intentionally created COVID in a lab as part of "gain of function" scientific research (not as a bioweapon), but that it's very unlikely based upon what we know? What is it that we know that makes this unlikely (vs. natural mutation in the wild)?

Also, in theory COVID could have arisen in the wild, been isolated in a lab for study, and then been accidentally released, right? Is that also unlikely?
Yes. I'll try to rank this based on my understanding. However, it's not a linear progression of likelihood from 1-5

(1) Chinese scientists created SARS-CoV-2 in a lab for nefarious purposes
(2) Chinese scientists found and then modified SARS-CoV-2 in a lab and released it for nefarious purposes
(3) Chinese scientists found and then modified SARS-CoV-2 and accidentally infected themselves
(4) Chinese scientists discovered SARS-CoV-2 in the wild and were researching at, then accidentally infected themselves
(5) SARS-CoV-2 randomly appeared in nature

#1-#3 are the scenarios being pushed to further some type of agenda against China. These are the least likely scenarios based on the virologists and zoonotic researchers I trust saying the genetic and physiological nature of SARS-CoV-2 does not suggest any type of human manipulation (in part or in whole).

#4 is certainly possible, thought it also seems unlikely, mainly because you'd expect scientists that accidentally infect themselves to not rush out and spread it. However, I guess if they they infected themselves and were all asymptomatic they could have inadvertently introduced it outside the lab; I'm not sure how you'd prove this.

#5 is still the most likely culprit just based on what we know about how viruses jump species all the time. It's also part of the reason research exists - to figure out if we can understand why they jump and then if they do, how could they be really bad for humans ("gain of function") - what type of mutations or changes are needed? How likely is that to happen? Would a jump result in a really deadly disease that isn't highly communicable? Or would it involve jumping and it's not deadly at all but spreads pretty easily? Could it then evolve into something more problematic? This is where Rand Paul is talking out of his ass (or mouth, same thing) and trying to come up with some nefarious motivation for research, completely oblivious to the idea that emerging infectious diseases is a whole field of study and something scientists from around the globe had been watching.
Ok, that all makes sense. Though it seems like #3 would get some consideration as a non-nefarious chain of events that could have happened (even if it seems unlikely). And of course there's also the point that Popehat was making in his tweet that was posted earlier - you have a lot of people kicking around ideas around this with various motivations, and of course Trump trying to blame everything on China / stick his usual racism into things makes it difficult to talk about any of this rationally on the internet.

Also agree that #4 seems hard to prove. Only way that seems plausible is if there are some records from lab workers who originally got sick or some testimony from lab workers involved, though even if that does exist I would assume that the Chinese wouldn't make any of that available - even in a #4 scenario that would be publicly embarrassing.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Kraken »

One datum I'm unsure of: I've seen the Wuhan lab called a Chinese military laboratory. Is that true? It seems relevant if so.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by Blackhawk »

I did my 'browse' shopping trip today. I visited nine different locations. Mask usage was maybe 2%.

Honest truth: The mask era is over. The arguments are over. Some of us will continue to wear them for now, but the battle is done, and it is unlikely that we'll be able to go back if and when it is needed.
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Re: The Politics of Covid 19, mask wearing and the vaccination process

Post by El Guapo »

Blackhawk wrote: Wed May 26, 2021 10:33 pm I did my 'browse' shopping trip today. I visited nine different locations. Mask usage was maybe 2%.

Honest truth: The mask era is over. The arguments are over. Some of us will continue to wear them for now, but the battle is done, and it is unlikely that we'll be able to go back if and when it is needed.
Masks are alive and well in my Boston neighborhood, FWIW. Definitely down outside, but in stores its still pretty universal.

Of course, the irony being that vaccination rates are probably near universal here too. I imagine the people most likely to wear masks are the people least likely to actually need to.
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