The Atlantic

Refusing to Wear a Mask Is an Empty Act of Defiance

Those who reject facial coverings during the pandemic do so amid broad consensus about what public safety demands.
Source: Getty / The Atlantic

The woman in the video would like you to know that she is compassionate. She would like you to know that she understands “the virus is real.” She would also like you to know, however, that she has tried wearing a face mask while out in public during the coronavirus pandemic, and that she will not be wearing one again. “I’m at the end of it,” she says tearfully, recording herself in her car after 45 minutes spent wearing a mask. “I’m just simply at the end of it.”

Viewed more than 6 million times since it was posted last week, thethat double as portraits of stubbornness, of selfishness, of rugged individualism run amok. There’s the Costco shopper who in the warehouse, because, as he informed a crew member, “I woke up in a free country.” There’s the woman who cut a hole in the center of her mask because the fabric, , made it “hard to breathe.” There’s the woman who a clerk at a California supermarket that, although the store’s policy required her to wear a mask, she would not be doing so, because of a “medical condition.” (Do not wonder what condition this might be: “I’m not required by HIPAA rules and regulations to disclose that,” she said.)

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