When my 18 year old daughter was finishing up her last semester of high school, she asked me an interesting question back in May 2023. She was wondering whether or not she should continue wearing a face mask when in school.
To understand her question, one needs to look at her perspective. Our entire family of four got COVID 19 back in early December 2020. My wife was so sick that she was in the hospital for 5 days. For the first few months after being home, her memory, speech and coordination was significantly impaired. She required various different therapies. She could not drive for several months. In total my wife was off work for approximately 22 months. In that time period, my oldest daughter had gotten COVID 19 a second time in 2021.
My daughter continued to wear a mask at school to reduce the potential of getting COVID 19 a third time and run the risk of my wife getting it again. This was something that she had decided to do on her own.
I indicated to my daughter that it was very difficult to answer the question about whether she should continue to wear a mask when in school. The reason being is that public officials and the media were no longer releasing accurate information in order to make an informed decision either way.
We live in a city with a population of just over 100,000. Prior to COVID 19, it was common to see articles in the local media of any kind of respiratory or gastrointestinal outbreak in one of the hospitals or Long Term Care (LTC) facilities in the city. During COVID 19, those articles were also common, which helped people gauge the level of COVID 19 activity and other infectious outbreaks occurring in the community.
During the period that my daughter asked me about wearing a mask in school, it seemed strange that there hadn’t been anything in the local media for awhile regarding any kind of outbreak. So I checked the local health unit’s website and their press releases. During the month of May 2023, there were two separate COVID 19 outbreaks in separate LTC facilities and another LTC facility had a gastrointestinal outbreak.
In spite of the health unit issuing the press releases, the primary local media outlet decided they were not going to publish any printed articles on the outbreaks. Though it’s quite possible that this particular media outlet, like many others, were getting fed up with the various sources of negative backlash against them for reporting anything regarding outbreaks (COVID 19 or others).
One online article on May 24, 2023 sheds some possible light on this. The article referenced that the local hospital was lifting most of the remaining mask requirements. A couple of the comments regarding the article indicate, “Are they actually still worried about Covid?” and “Now to get rid of them in long term care and we can all get over it with Covid.” Another online article on June 28, 2023 regarding the closure of the large vaccination clinic for the summer had these comments. “Go back to normal (pre COVID) already.”, “Come on now shut it down.”, “Waste of money.”.
I can definitely appreciate people’s frustrations with seeing anything pertaining to COVID 19 in the media. Yet, in many cases those frustrations were creating a toxic society that was (in some cases) becoming violent. Throughout COVID 19, I and many others were posting a few comments indicating that no one is forcing anyone to read, watch, listen to anything pertaining to COVID 19. If a person didn’t like a particular media report, all they had to do was change the proverbial channel.
A few analogies could be used here. If several people regularly get upset about media reports about motor vehicle accidents (MVA’s). Does that mean the media is suddenly going to stop reporting about MVA’s? Many people absolutely hate anything pertaining to politics. Does that mean the media is suddenly going to stop reporting about it? Or what about the growing number of mass shootings that get many people upset?
How are people able to make informed decisions about anything (regardless of what that thing may be) if the media arbitrarily stops reporting on it?
Until next time, stay safe, healthy and strong.
If you found the content of this blog beneficial, considerbuying us a coffee. It would be much appreciated. Thank You.