Back in college, I used to have 3 piercings:
Left ear cartilage
I considered additional piercings - those were NSFW - but was talked out of them by, uhhhh, "concerned" friends.
My tongue piercing was the last to go, and it generated the most "effusive" of reactions from my parents, the dean of med school admissions at Emory, and my small group physician leader at Michigan when I was chosen as the subject of how to perform a proper oral exam.
At least my group got their money's worth 🤦🏽♂️.
As a result of my piercings, I have been asked by many if I have or ever had any tattoos.
No worries Mummy, the answer is no 🤣.
I simply stated: "Tattoos are much more permanent than piercings. I have never been comfortable making that leap. When I decided I was done with my piercings, I just removed them and moved on. I didn't view them as a permanent fixture, only a temporary one."
Why am I even bringing this story up?
Because there seems to be a misconception by many that any change in life is viewed through the prism of permanence when that is frequently NOT the case.
Just like your first job is NOT likely your last job.
Just like your first love is NOT likely your last love.
And just like wearing a mask is NOT likely to be a forever thing.
Wearing masks are the piercings, and getting a vaccine are the tattoos.
You do not need to choose the permanent choice - I am done trying to convince others who are against vaccines and, honestly, I also will not take a COVID vaccine that has not undergone appropriate safety trials.
And no, I do not believe in this day and age a vaccine would ever be made mandatory - the outcry would be deafening. I think people will get the choice, and there will be consequences associated with that choice.
But here's another reason to consider the "temporary" choice of a mask - because it WILL be temporary:
A paper soon to be published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine - not the best journal but also not the worst - puts forth an evidence-based argument where masks not only protect others by reducing droplet spread, but also addresses the question of reduced viral load exposure with a mask for BOTH parties, and its effect on illness and subsequent immune response/protection.
Many of us have hypothesized viral load directly impacts severity of disease from COVID - for example, drinking a sip of contaminated water is obviously not as dangerous as drinking an entire glass. But this paper lays out examples of where this idea actually plays out.
The idea is even if masks do not offer ideal protection against the virus, this may actually be a GOOD thing.
By wearing a mask and more likely getting exposed to the
ID50 - the dose of virus required to infect 50% of those exposed,
which is a lower dose than the LD50 - the dose of virus that would be lethal to 50% of those exposed,
this could help more safely contribute to increased population-wide immunity.
Or as the authors describe it, "the poor man's vaccine". And a natural, possibly long-lasting immunity everyone should be okay with.
This logic should appeal to the anti-vaxxers who push for natural immunity for their families, and it should appeal to those parents who want their children to go back to school.
Speaking of kids: PLEASE have your kids wear masks, even if not required, so a significant chunk of society can get back to SOME semblance of normalcy in today's world.
I do not understand how some parents and school leadership think schools opening and then closing due to COVID outbreaks is less disruptive to a child's education than simply mandating masks being worn. Can someone please explain this to me?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states very clearly the VAST majority of children 2 and over, even those with health conditions, can wear mask coverings without issue:
The AAP has been advocating for school openings all along, but ONLY if it can be done safely. And wearing masks will go a long way in doing so.
So let us get the schools the resources they need to re-open, and let us at least do ONE thing right - for the children.
And, uhhhhh, all parents' sanity.