I don’t know what it is about our modern society that some people think they need to weigh in on literally everything that is going on at all times. But these kinds of people definitely exist! To wit, poll person Nate Silver, who spews opinions everywhere in the manner of a World War II machine gunner (that weird FiveThirtyEight cartoon fox is the one next to him holding the bullets) or someone vomiting into a toilet:
To be fair to Silver, he is tapping into what has quickly become one of the most tiresome features of our present discourse: are people who still wear masks STUPID and WRONG???
I get where this view is coming from, I really do: the science tells us that it’s OK to walk around without a mask outdoors, and if you’re vaccinated, you should feel pretty protected wherever you go. If you’re online, you have undoubtedly been greeted by people loudly proclaiming that they will be wearing masks until the end of time no matter what anyone says. Those people are annoying, as are the sometimes contradictory or overcautious signs from political leaders. But look around. New York is lifting virtually all of its COVID restrictions in about two weeks, even though huge parts of the population aren’t vaccinated. The cautious brigade is not really winning this argument.
Nate Silver has been loudly having opinions about COVID since the pandemic started—like his opinion in early April 2020 that New York City appeared to be turning a corner based on some Google data. (New York City was indeed turning a corner, but it was a corner that led into a giant mass grave.) So color me not too shocked that he is back at it again today.
Nate…if other people are just doing their own thing and not firebombing the CDC or blocking your way into the restaurant, then truly, who cares? As a vaccinated person, I have been walking around without a mask outside for most of the past week. In the beginning, it was a little weird, and then, presto, it was fine. If someone had pulled a knife on me or motioned for a crowd to gather around me and yell shaming things, I would think that was a bad sign. But nobody has done that. I remain un-stabbed and un-shamed. It’s all good, really it is.
We’re in a transition phase between the end of the pandemic and the beginning of something else. Transition phases are strange things. But then they’re over, and we’re into the next phase. Maybe the Nate Silvers of the world should just relax for a bit?