There Has To Be An End To Masks And Distancing, And It Has To Be Soon

For Those Who Have Followed The Rules; Moving The Goalposts, And Shaming Us For Asking Why, Is Infuriating

On May 6, two weeks after my second vaccine shot, I’m may find myself putting #COVIDIOT in my bio.

Rutgers University in New Jersey will mandate all returning students get vaccinated in the Fall, and they will also mandate continued social distancing and masking for vaccinated students.

In response to news today that Rutgers University will be mandating vaccines for students next Fall, while also continuing masks and distancing, many of us have been asking…why?

If students are vaccinated, why should they continue to wear masks and distance? We know vaccines prevent serious illness, and we know transmission risks dramatically decrease. If they can’t do it after vaccination, when can they? Do you not see how this provides a slippery slope into permanent restrictions? For the rest of time, life is going to consist of vaccinated people spreading COVID to other vaccinated people, so who cares if we do it now? Are we ever going to have big family gatherings, concerts and sporting events again? Have I seen my last Broadway show? Will I ever be able to sit on a plane without wearing a mask for a 10-hour flight?

You’ve asked me mask up and social distance for a year. I’ve done it happily. I’ve been to one (outdoor) restaurant since last January, fewer than many of the preachy folks have been. I remember COVID doomsdayer Laurie Garrett taking pictures of a crowded River Cafe in Brooklyn after Donald Trump called New York “dead” in an October presidential debate, before complaining a few days later about how New York was reopening too fast and risking another wave. I see you Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding, relocating your entire family to Europe in the middle of a pandemic so your kids an attend school, while criticizing folks traveling and and jurisdictions reopening schools.

I’ve had one (outdoor) family gathering. I’ve kept a bubble of the same seven people. I’ve barely worked (and built up massive debt because of it). I have only left a 10-mile radius of my house twice – both for essential reasons. I’ve done everything I’ve been asked and I’ve done it better than many experts.

But now, it isn’t enough for some. I am expected to continue doing this even beyond the point where vaccines are available to everyone, a point we will likely reach in the next couple of months. I’m supposed to do this because a good number of people will freely choose not to get vaccinated, or there will be a (very small) number of people who can’t get vaccinated, or variants or whatever new reason people who seem to be enjoying the punitive pandemic life like flagellant monks come up with today.

You may enjoy the pandemic lifestyle. Maybe you ran yourself too ragged before and enjoy a slower pace of life. Maybe you were lonely and bitter and enjoy watching people who have families and friends be forced to sit in the same isolation you’ve resigned yourself to. Maybe you think disrupting normal life will trigger whatever fantasy anti-Capitalist revolution you have been LARPing for years and are intent on keeping it going until it happens.

I don’t know why you feel like things are better now than before, but this sucks. It sucks. I have good friends and dear family members I have not seen since December 2019. I have not been able to travel, which I take a lot of joy from doing. I have seem my hometown, which thrives with crowds and congregate settings, tourism and nightlife, exist in a half-alive state for over a year, a city desperate to heal and unable to heal. Will it ever be allowed to be itself again? Or are we determined to depopulated major cities in cold climates and make Ron DeSantis’ Florida or Greg Abbott’s Texas economic powerhouses?

And why are asking these questions turning into battle? Why am I COVIDIOT because I want to go to a bar in June, or want to see my friends maskless this summer, or think college kids who have been vaccinated should return to college life? None of this is the same as someone questioning whether COVID was a real a year ago. Those people were the ones telling us that we were the idiots, for following guidelines experts had no intention on ever lifting; for being slow-walked into a dystopian future where our freedoms are restricted on the premise of “public health.”

Why are we so intent making them correct?

If you want to understand why people stopped following guidelines months ago, why the COVIDIOTS popped up, this is why, because people recognize when they’re being gaslight and abused. They recognize no one is going to give them permission to live normally again. They made a different risk assessment than you did. You can be angry about it, call them names, but it won’t do any good.

As for me? I’ve done my part, so don’t bother shaming me after May 6th. I have nothing to be ashamed of.

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