Are facemasks a temporary way to fight a specific virus, or will they become part of our “new normal?”

“I don’t care about philosophy, just tell me how it ends.” That line is repeated on the final page of Len Jenkin’s play ‘Dark Ride.’ I’ve been thinking about Len, whom I had the great pleasure of working with a few times, a lot of late. His work always creates a world a bit out whack, dusty and dim, characters engaged in slow motion chaos. Today’s creepy streets of masked New Yorkers feel like a Len Jenkin play, and all anybody wants to know is how it ends.

When can we take off the masks? It’s a simple enough question. Three months ago pretty much nobody outside of recent Asian immigrants in urban Chinatowns donned the face protectors, but now they are ubiquitous. As with so many changes the Chinese virus has wrought on our lives, the emerging question is whether the changes are temporary and specific to this one threat, or if they will become permanent.

After all, even if the virus disappeared tomorrow through some force of magic, facemasks would still be an effective tool to slow the spread of other deadly diseases like the flu. If the philosophy is that changing our ways is worth it if it “saves one life,” then the end of this will be everyone wearing masks at baseball games and plays, in airplanes and shopping malls.

And mask-wearing is, as its proponents point out, a small thing. Just like keeping six feet apart is a small thing, just like not attending church is a small thing, just like being contact traced is a small thing. But the thing about small things is that when you stack them up they can get pretty big. The “new normal” like a pointillist painting will be constructed of small dots that together create an entire vision of reality.

The whole coronavirus crisis has been a long exercise in cost-benefit analysis. But as deaths decline and states reopen the crisis may be abating, but its social after-effects could be with us for a long time to come. Is there a metric that can be reached which would mean we could take off the masks? If so what is it? It is my very real fear that for many Americans the answer is no, and they will wear the mask until something other than a virus takes them to their graves.

This is a discussion that we need to be having. Because if we are to become a nation of faceless mask wearers it ought to be an active choice, not a jaundice we creep into by being peevish. We must be in control of the lifestyle changes that come from this experience, not controlled by it. Nor should we acquiesce to medical experts in making these decisions. They have a role to play, of course, but it is not dispositive, nor are they always right anyway.

In emergencies, people and societies react fast, often in inefficient and ineffective ways. Life becomes about getting through the moment, not about creating a future. We are now two months into this unprecedented season of death and economic devastation. It is time to look forward.

For my part, I reject the idea that the facemask should become a permanent mark of American life. I want to smile at people; I want to see facial expressions and a pretty woman’s lipstick. These are not minor aspects of life; they are deeply ingrained in the experience of being human.

The final line of ‘Dark Ride’ is delivered by a disembodied voice, Len loves a good disembodied voice, it says, “Those who wish to ride again stay in your seats. A man will be around to take your tickets. Those getting off, step lively. Exit to your left or your right.” I’m ready to step lively; unlike Len’s play, this dark ride is no amusement.

Will we wear the masks forever? Will some of us? Will that mark some division in our society? Is that the mark we want to leave on the world? Do we want to explain to our kids that there used to be a world where faces abounded and fear was not the coin of the realm but we destroyed it? These are the questions we have to answer and we have to answer them now.

31 thoughts on “Are Face Masks The New Normal?”
  1. Insane No only if you buy into the fear factor that been created. Wake up and have qa mind of your own.
    Already if anyone is paying attention this whole polanned pandemic is unreveling. Just look at the numbers ajusted down, less than the flu, even with the padded deaths from other health problems that have been added to the cov19 deaths.
    Wake up!!

  2. Face Masks are Not required for Black Lives Mattea and Antifa protesters. Although they are recommended to hide their identities.

    1. “Face Masks are Not required for Black Lives Mattea and Antifa protesters. Although they are recommended to hide their identities.”

      Well said. Straight to the point. LOL

  3. You won’t hear of face masks after election this fall. The Demoncraps are making them a big deal to keep the economy low hoping they can steal the election.

  4. Face masks aren’t a bad thing. In other countries they are worn if you have a cold or are just sick. It keeps the germs away from other people. I feel it is a thoughtful thing to do. If you are someone that has autoimmune disorder a mask would really be a useful tool to use. I don’t find a problem with it. Is there really anyone who has a real problem with face masks?

    1. That might be fine for a lot of people but I have COPD and wearing a mask takes more air away from my lungs and it harder to breathe with a mask on so I say let it be the People’s Choice to wear a mask or not to

    2. Yes. I have several autoimmune disorders and I personally am wearing a mask right now but once the pandemic seems to be under control I will no longer wear one. There are many Doctors who feel that they do very little to help and in some cases can hurt. Each expert ( if that is what you want to refer to them as) says something different even with COVID-19. The W H O came out last week and suggested that masks for everyone we’re not necessary ( so which is it) they do not know in fact no one does even the best and the brightest because it is a new disease and needs to be studied and will be for years to come. We are Americans not sheep not easily led out of fear. There may be some who continue to wear a mask but the vast majority of the people will forget all about the pandemic just like they have forgotten about many things that we were told would change us forever by the people who want to control us. There were many flu pandemics that killed over 100,000 people here in the USA one in the 50’s and one in the late 60’s we did not change there were riots in the 60s the 90’ and in 2015 there was 9/11 ( remember that) we picked ourselves up dusted ourselves off and kept going. We will do that with this as well. If you like the way the citizens of China or South Korea or even Japan live then great you can go live there ( did you know that in Japan women who work in retail have to were high heels and skirts and contact lenses so they look inviting)I am fairly sure that would not go over well in the United States 🇺🇸 I will not even go into China ( they locked whole families in their homes to die from COVID-19 for as the Chinese put it the greater good) lol really the greater good. You should really think what it means to be an American. Liberty , freedom, the pursuit of happiness not the government will take care of you and you can hide and follow the rules. The beauty of our country is that if you want to wear a mask you can and if others do not they do not have to. Please do not fall for the ( sign of respect) nonsense) maybe during the really bad part of this pandemic it is something we can all do to help just like our grandparents and mothers and fathers did when they went to war in WW1 and WW2 and The Korean War they made sacrifices everyone did there was food rationing and many other things to help our country but again it was temporary and then we went back to normal ( not the new normal🙄)that they all fought for. Let’s not ruin that out of fear (real or not) things will go back to normal there will be a vaccine there will be medications and we will move on. The media who told you it was scary to go to Church and to wear masks already have changed their tune with the demonstrations they seem to think it is perfectly ok to not social distance and not wear a mask as long as it is for something that goes along with their agenda. BTW remember the mask does not help with many viruses only if they are upper respiratory. No other virus’s are spread that way.

    3. Yes, there are problems surrounding the wearing of masks in a general context.

      1) Masks can be used to conceal identity which plays right into the hands of criminals or would-be’s.

      2) They act as a psychological barrier between peoples when to comes to communication and empathy exchange. One cannot see the other’s facial responses and thus cannot gauge the other’s true reactions. Very disconcerting indeed.

      3) Their usefulness in fighting infection is almost zero probably doing more harm than good as they could negatively compromise one’s natural immune system if worn semi-permanently or permanently.

  5. The simple answer is that it will all end when “We The People” get fed up enough to end it. The only reason that things are opening up now is that there is beginning to be enough push back that the leaders want to maintain the illusion that they are in control and they are “allowing” us to open up.

    The fact is that they have already lost control with people congregating all over the country at all hours of the day and night with lack of masks and no “social distancing” and undocumented shopping.

    It is way past time to get back to work and get on with our lives!!!

      1. It is your choice to wear a mask. But like everything else COVID -19 will not be around forever and it is terrible to have to constantly live your life in fear. If I were you I would speak to my Doctor about continuing to wear one after the threat of the COVID-19 virus has passed because according to many well respected doctors they are not really needed and can be harmful long term) I have several autoimmune diseases and I too am wearing a mask right now but will not forever. I want to enjoy my life.

        1. I agree with Lowell, All American’s need to stand up for their rights. I for one don’t like wearing a Mask. I thing all Americans should have a choice if they want to wear it. wake up people, there are some who are trying to take our freedom away.

    1. I refuse to wear a mask the rest of my life. This virus will be brought under control and we can go back to our lives as they were.

  6. I for one have no problem wearing a mask from now on. I’m 71 and diabetic too so I need the extra protection. Please don’t cough around me.

    1. Wearing a mask all the time isn’t good for you. You breathing in co is very bad for you also your breathing in bacteria that in the long run will cause you to have other health problems

      1. That is so true but you do not hear that on the news they have scared people into believing there is a new normal and if we do not follow along we are bad an evil. Sad

  7. I still live in the United States of America and I was not born with a mask nor do I wear one now.
    The only thing that a mask is good for is to do evil and enough of that is being done as we have seen in the last week. Law breakers just love the fact that no one can know who they are and it gives them a better opportunity to do their evil things like put good law abiding people out of business.
    Please people think back at all the sickness’s we have had just the common cold and we get through it. So no my vote is get rid of them.But people will buy them because right now their are many adds out with masks for sale.Then they will sit on them or they will sit on a shelf or in a yard sale.

  8. SO MUCH FOR FACIAL RECOGNITION DEM’S wanted to end the practice as they were getting caught so don on the mask please it hides the face.

  9. To everyone out there, the masks should go the way of the DO-DO BIRD, unless you are sick, in which case, what are you doing out & about, your idiots!!!

  10. The wearing of masks are only for those who have colds or are coughing or sneezing a lot. Healthy people with a good immune system, should not have to walk around with a mask on. It’s ridiculous, & we have to take a common sense approach to this, unlike the CDC or WHO or even Dr. Fauci, who’s been wrong-a lot, or even Dr.Birx.

  11. I am not going to continue wearing a mask, which is dangerous to the wearer and the sign of compliance to Big Brother government. PA is finally opening, thanks to our Democrat governor and his transgender Surgeon General, who made sure “her” mom got out of her nursing home before the virus patients were admitted. Putting virus patients in with seniors was the height of dangerous incompetence! Anyone whom thinks he/she can blindly trust the government should review the last few months and all the disinformation we were supposed to believe. We have a good reason to protest, as much as the city destroyers who grabbed all the headlines.

  12. Masks are simply an indication you’re compliant and have already accepted their control over you.
    That said, I will NEVER wear a mask, especially considering this “Coronavirus” has a 98% cure rate and is simply a Chinese created, democrat approved plandemic designed to ruin the BOOMING economy Trump gave us.
    They tried…with their “Impeachment hearings”, they tried with their “Russia Collusion hoax”, NONE of it worked, so now they’re trying with this Chinavirus to bring down the greatest President we’ve ever known.
    Seems to me these acts, the “Impeachment”, the “Russia Collusion” and now the “Coronavirus” are ALL attempts to ruin our legally elected President, all involved are GUILTY of TREASON and SEDITION.
    As such, they are all to be EXECUTED on those grounds…Nazi Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer, et al

  13. How are people suppose to get air into their lungs when both their nose and their mouth are covered by a mask? There is such a thing as sufficating to death. Let us breathe!

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