It’s not just Eid today, it’s the end of wearing masks for the 150 million of us who have been fully vaccinated. End-of-Mask Mubarak! Although red states have been celebrating the end of masks since March 2020, for the rest of us, the CDC’s announcement marks a major milestone.
We are about to enter a maskless world and a step back toward the normalcy we knew before Covid arrived on our shores. But it’s not all good news for everyone. Indeed, it is particularly bad news for Tucker Carlson, who will be forced to come up with some new talking points for his ghastly Fox show and some new ideas for what constitutes a symbol of liberal oppression. Starting next week, he’ll presumably be broadcasting about the evils of bike helmets and the number of people who choke to death from a lack of oxygen while wearing a seatbelt. Those sorts of highly scientific, non-medieval talking points will surely sit well on the show. If we’re really lucky, he’ll also show us grainy smartphone footage of a “brave Republican voter” who refused to adhere to the seatbelt sign on an airplane and then start a social media war against the young flight attendant who advised he belt up.
Incidentally, it’s been reported that Tucker is in a better mood of late, since he thinks white men are making a comeback after Jennifer Lopez split up with Alex Rodriguez and reunited with Ben Affleck.
Watch: Biden hails ‘great day for America’ as mask-wearing guidance eased
But where does this no-mask guidance from the CDC leave the rest of us? How will America re-adjust to seeing the bottom half of people’s faces? The answer is that it depends who and where you are. If you’re a gym rat, you’re in luck — you can finally decide whether you want to engineer a meetcute now that you can see the face of the person whose body you’ve been checking out. But if you’re a woman in Florida, brace yourself — your new neighbor, one Donald J Trump, will just start kissing you, like a magnet. This may explain why shares in pepper spray manufacturers spiked shortly after the CDC announcement.
Still, freeing our faces from mask-wearing is a win for society since we will no longer have to input our passcodes when paying with Apple Pay. It’s a win for Darth Vader impersonators at Comic-Con whose heavy breathing will no longer be seen as a public hazard. It’s a win for cops as it makes it easier for them to racially profile anyone who isn’t sufficiently antagonistic towards minorities. And it’s a win for Dr Fauci, who will no longer be harassed by Rand Paul about this topic whenever he testifies before the Senate (although Senator Paul has pledged to harass Dr Fauci about why he didn’t warn him about his ear hair growth accelerating after the age of 45).
Not wearing masks also means that our natural human instincts can finally re-emerge. Instincts such as judging how well-matched couples are based on their appearance, ignoring the parmesan stuck in our hipster friend’s beard, and silently thinking that the person you’re talking to desperately needs to floss.
But perhaps the biggest part of the CDC announcement is the psychological victory that it represents: it signals that we survived. Our scope of activity can return to normal. The pandemic might not be completely over but we are closer to the end than the beginning, and we are stronger and more united for coming through it. This is just one of many ways in which pandemics are better than Trumpism.
Watch: What is long COVID?