Flying During The "New Normal" Era
The constant messaging about wearing a mask is relentless. You can't escape it. From the signage upon entry into Pearson Airport to the frequent announcements, the flight attendants, the captain, virtually all people in the airport, and the standard packaging now given out in place of food or drink.
I didn't see anyone without a mask in terminal 1, and it was rammed busy. I don't wear a mask, but it's difficult not to at the airport as a verbal declaration is invalid there; only a doctor's note will get you a medical exemption.
So, reluctantly, I wore a mask...my nose uncovered. I was reminded by some airport staff about it, but I pulled it back down.
I spoke with one of the security check personnel, and she told me that she hates wearing the mask. In fact, most of the people she knows working there also don't like it.
(The day before, my partner asked a friend of mine for me (a manager at a large supermarket) if he liked wearing a mask. "If I'm going to look like a doctor, I want to get paid like one," was his reply.)
Seems many people working long hours don't like wearing a mask, and most take off their masks when not in view of the public.
But everyone complies. They have to...
Your job may be on the line. Or you might get a fine at the airport or even be removed from the flight.
I have a word of advice if you're going to fly:
bring food and a drink.
The absurdity of the mask bylaw tells you that you must wear a mask at all times in the airport and aboard the plane...unless, you're eating or drinking...in the same space where you're supposed to wear a life-saving mask.
So, with my mask off, I ate my carrot sticks slowly. I've never chewed so well in my life. I reckon each carrot stick took about 15 minutes to eat. I even kept an empty granola wrapper in my hand just to justify not wearing a mask. No issues.
I even fell asleep with my mask off my nose and mouth.
When we were taking off, however, I had to have my mask on. I was smiling at my son, a toddler, to help soothe him during the ascent but noticed that he uncharacteristically wasn't smiling back at me. Then it dawned on me...
I removed my mask and smiled again. And he smiled back.
The psychologically detrimental effects of mask wearing really hit home. How will students be affected when they sit in classrooms and can't read their teacher's facial expression, esp. children with special needs?
All in all, I probably had my mask on for less than a third of my two flights, and, when it was on, my nose wasn't usually covered.
I wonder how many other people are playing along with the charade, not believing in any real threat because the great majority of people only suffer mildly if infected or not at all and those needing protection are clearly defined: the elderly and those with a pre-existing condition.
How many others wear a mask for fear of their livelihood being affected or because of cruel societal attitudes or just because it's easier not to fight it?
There isn't yet a single randomized control trial (RCT) that proves a statistically significant benefit in wearing a mask vs. not wearing one in limiting respiratory infections. There are several observational studies, ecological studies and hypothetical modeling studies arguing their effectiveness, but none can match the minimally biased and gold-standard reliability of an RCT trial with measured outcomes, that is, did participants get infected or not by wearing or not wearing a mask?
We know who the vulnerable are and how to protect them. The vast and overwhelming majority of us don't fall into that category.
So, why the masks?