One woman came in with a black mask covering her mouth and nose (but gaping open at the sides & top, as usual—only the n95 masks provide airtight protection).
I didn't think much of it until, in the course of conversation, she mentioned her covid-positive test to explain why she wore a mask.
"So I'm sick with covid now," she explained cheerfully. "That's why I'm strict about covering both my nose and my mouth!"
Everyone just nodded politely and I wanted to roll my eyes (but didn't because that's rude and she was a really nice, warm lady).
Later, when gathering together for photos, this same lady said, "Should I leave my mask in place? Oh, I can pull it down for just the moment it takes to snap a picture, right?"
So she pulled it down under her chin, joined in putting her arms around the people standing next to her, and smiled for the camera.
In a nutshell, this demonstrated everything wrong with the whole fake science behind the mask decrees.
Why Are People Acting Insensibly? Follow the Leaders!
Merely breathing puts these germs in motion.
So wearing a mask with the normal gaps around the sides and top allows these germs and droplets an easy exit.
They go into the air around you.
Just by being in the room with other people and breathing, this well-intentioned lady spread her germs into the airspace shared with many others.
Any doctor or nurse can tell you the same.
But I don't blame that lady.
When you have top medical professionals, including official announcements from the Ministry of Health, insisting on non-n95 masks as disease prevention, then you'll have many people who believe these masks are actually an effective strategy to prevent the spread of covid.
And these same people will believe they can go out among others as long as they wear a mask because so many highly educated medical professionals INSIST these masks significantly curb the spread of disease.
So she believes that by wearing a mask while ill with a highly contagious disease, she is behaving responsibly & considerately.
But why did she lower the mask for the photo?
How is that responsible and considerate?
Well, with the mask mandates allowing for unmasking with good reason, this encourages people to believe that temporarily taking off the mask for a "good" reason will not spread disease.
Like how everyone crammed together on a plane must be masked...until they start eating. Then hundreds of people sit there with no mask, freely exhaling their germs into the air. (Although with the standard masks, that's exactly what was happening before they started eating too.)
When I went for an eyeglass exam, I masked myself in the waiting room out of consideration for another patient who insisted (with forced politeness) that another unmasked customer put on a mask.
(I do this because of Rav Itamar Schwartz's injunction not to cause tzaar to your fellow Jew. If people feel frightened or stressed out by you not wearing a mask, he feels it's considerate to wear a mask.)
As the optometry assistant carried out the exam, she handed me glass lenses on a stick to hold up to my eyes.
They immediately fogged up from my breath escaping via the top gap of my mask (proof that germs can escape via that exit too).
The assistant gave a self-conscious laugh and said, "Uh, you can remove the mask for a moment because it's impossible to carry out the exam while wearing a mask."
Looking at her sweet face with its sheepish smile, I could tell she realized how foolish that sounded.
I gave her a reassuring smile (after all, her employment forces her to do this) and continued with the exam.
"Okay, you can replace your mask now," she said pleasantly while avoiding looking me in the eye.
Then, covering only my mouth, I went into the office of the grumpy optometrist himself.
"Place your mask over your nose too, please!" he ordered.
Teaching People the Wrong Way to Do Things
(And that doesn't even cover the little-known evidence of another entryway for covid is via the eyes, which aren't mandated and hopefully will not be, even though the science says transmission via the eyes exists:www.thelancet.com/journals/lanmic/article/PIIS2666-5247(21)00040-9/fulltext. Please also note this same article records the results of a large study in which the grand preventative measures of 3-layer surgical masks, shoe covers, gloves, and alcohol rubs could NOT prevent the infection of 19% of staff.)
The irrational and inconsistent mandates both teach & habituate people to irresponsible and ineffective disease prevention.
It teaches & habituates people to obviously irrational behavior under the impression that it's rational.
Postscript: Just for Knowing, I'm Not Always So Nice...
While I show consideration for the tzaar of people lacking in knowledge and/or sensibility, and who perhaps feel frightened by the absence of masks and may indeed suffer medical vulnerability that increases their fear...
...I'm far less considerate toward enforcers who simply want to play power games.
While riding the bus one day, a fare-checker got on the bus to check everyone's bus cards to make sure they paid.
That was the limit of his job. There were no mask mandates that could earn a fine for a non-wearer.
When he got to me, he checked my bus card and then said, "Where's your mask, eh? What aren't you wearing a mask?"
He was an Arab and while there are fine Arabs employees & professionals in all areas, others use their jobs to assert power over Jews.
In my area, 2 incidents in which there was a conflict over whether the passenger had paid ended with the Arab fare-checker assaulting the passenger. (This hasn't happened with the Jewish fare-checkers, who might give you a tongue-lashing, but that's it.) In one case, the Arab fare-checker assaulted a charedi woman.
(Needless to say, abuses of authority are not limited to Arabs. Anyone with power issues can choose to target those under their authority. Just that in my case, it was an Arab-Jew thing, maybe even a man-woman thing.)
So because he was simply using his authority to harass me, I set a poker-face and gazed out the window while pretending he didn't exist.
"What's your problem?" he continued. "Don't wanna talk, eh? Humph."
I continued to act as if he didn't exist, and he exited the bus. (And no, I wasn't the only person without a mask.)
A couple of days later, I saw him again checking bus cards and again, he targeted me.
"No mask, eh? What do you think you're doing? You don't know you need to wear a mask? What, you don't know there's a covid epidemic? You don't care?"
During his quiet harangue, I again gazed out the window with no emotion until he went away.
Then I performed my new 'n' improved response to criticism (based on Torah as per the teachings of Rav Avigdor Miller and Rav Shalom Arush): I mentally went through my interactions to see if I was being a pointless nudnik toward anyone, just as the fare-checker was a pointless nudnik toward me.
And guess what?
Yep...still not perfect after all these years...yep, no surprise there...
So I thought of how to relate better to the object of my nudnickiness, resolved to do so and indeed, changed my behavior toward that person.
Recently, the same fare-checker boarded the bus and...not only did he not harass me about my lack of mask, but he didn't he even bother checking to see if I'd paid. (I had.)
I felt it was Hashem's way of giving me an encouraging pat on the back for being less of a nudnik.