It felt like carrying a seat belt in a parked automotive after which unbuckling the seat belt simply as I put the automotive in drive. It felt like doing the alternative of what security precautions ought to dictate. So I wrote this piece primarily stating, based mostly on a number of analysis, that this virus doesn’t appear to unfold very successfully outdoors and we should always in all probability take into consideration very quickly lifting outside masks mandates whereas encouraging vaccinated and unvaccinated folks to put on their masks in public indoor areas.
I need folks to stay their life as usually as doable whereas defending themselves as fairly as doable. And I feel the best way to do this is: masks inside, masks in crowds, no outside masks mandates for folks simply dwelling their life outdoors.
Higgins: If hygiene theater is what we’ve perhaps been overdoing, what haven’t we been doing sufficient of that we should always in all probability do extra?
Thompson: I’m actually glad that you just requested that. I feel folks hearken to me and [often] they’re like: Oh, you don’t take the pandemic severely. And I do. I simply conceptualize of this pandemic very particularly. It’s an indoor, speaking illness, for probably the most half. If you’re speaking or respiratory inside in an exerted method, like on the gymnasium, that’s the place the risk is. I feel that individuals have generally had a extremely backward thought of what they need to be doing inside.
I wrote this piece final summer season about library guidelines for America. We must always have indicators on locations like CVS or Dealer Joe’s that say: Please Maintain Your Voice Down. This illness really does unfold by way of the aerosolization that comes from our speaking. So individuals who go into CVS with their masks on after which pull down their masks to speak extra clearly into [their cellphone] have utterly misunderstood how this virus works. Don’t do this. Maintain your voice down. That’s a really affordable factor to ask of individuals in these public areas.
However I’m for giving and taking. We must always take away from folks this freedom they could really feel to talk loudly on the cellphone in CVS and Dealer Joe’s, whereas on the identical time giving them the elimination of out of doors masks mandates. [We should be] giving them the surface, not shutting down seashores [or] shaming folks for going out in a park with out their masks on. We ought to be celebrating the outside, whereas extra tightly regulating the indoors.
Hamblin: I couldn’t agree extra with you, Derek. This is a matter that, in protecting well being behaviors, I are inclined to run up towards quite a bit. Individuals see binaries. One thing is both good or dangerous. And masks appear to fall in that class the place it’s onerous to emphasise that issues are solely good or dangerous in context.
How do you concentrate on threading that needle for people who find themselves similar to: I believed I wanted to put on a masks. Now you’re saying I don’t must put on a masks? I feel Dr. [Anthony] Fauci sees that binary and thinks: We have to hold folks within the “Masks are good” class and never the “Masks are dangerous” class.