Saturday, August 22, 2020

Vox explains why wearing face masks became political in the U.S.

Climate change is not the only scientific issue to become poltically polarized. So has wearing masks to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Vox tells the story and explains how it could have gone differently in Why face masks became political in the US.

How America screwed up its messaging on masks.
The message from public health experts is clear: Wearing a mask can help stop the spread of coronavirus. But that message hasn't completely gotten through; many Americans still simply don't believe it. It's a major failure of communication, one that has almost certainly cost lives.

But the US government actually had a plan to prevent almost this exact situation from happening: A written set of rules to communicating in a public health crisis, including how to make sure that public health information doesn't get mixed up with politics. But then, when the biggest health crisis in a century arrived, they ignored it completely.
So it wasn't just a plan for dealing with the pandemic that the Trump Administration ignored, it was a plan to communicate about it. Sigh.

It took nearly six months, but G.O.P. politicians finally got on board with the experts. By the end of June, NBC News reported Several Republicans Now Encouraging Americans To Wear Masks Amid Coronavirus.

Vice President Pence, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Sen. Lamar Alexander are encouraging the use of masks as they visit states across the country and hold hearings in Congress as the coronavirus outbreak continues in the United States.
Better late than never, but a lot of wasted lives, time, and resources could have been saved if politicians of both parties, not just one, had followed the advice of experts from the beginning. May we learn that lesson in time for the next public health crisis.

Today is Earth Overshoot Day, so stay tuned for a brief post about how the the coronavirus response has reduced human environmental impact.

No comments:

Post a Comment