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Lunatics like this anti-masker are the reason the coronavirus spread is out of control

Published Aug 5th, 2020 9:16AM EDT

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  • A recent opinion piece from an anti-masker on a conservative news site is the latest example of stupid people with a platform trying to politicize face mask mandates.
  • Ignorant stances like this aren’t just blatantly wrong and patently absurd, they’re extremely dangerous because they often impact people’s opinions in the current politically charged climate.
  • The more people call out foolish, ludicrous content like this article in The Washington Times, the less likely impressionable people are to take it seriously and endanger the rest of us.

Most people know that the novel coronavirus pandemic is real. They know how dangerous and potentially deadly COVID-19 can be. This is especially true in the United States, where our abysmal response to the pandemic has led to uncontrollable coronavirus outbreaks all across the country. The virus has spread so far and so wide by now that the vast majority of people have likely been impacted by it. Even if you’ve managed to stay healthy yourself, at least a few people among your friends, family, and acquaintances have likely caught COVID-19.

If you’re lucky, you or the affected people you know have had mild cases of COVID-19, or even asymptomatic cases. Mild cases can still be scary at times, but they’re nowhere near as devastating as a severe coronavirus case can be. There are some truly terrifying coronavirus symptoms that many patients have been experiencing, and of course we all know that more than 692,000 people have died of COVID-19 around the world, including about 160,000 deaths here in the US. The novel coronavirus is easy to catch and tricky to kill, and the fact that you can spread it for up to 14 days without even knowing you’re sick makes the virus even more dangerous. And yet some people are still so stupid and so pigheaded that they refuse to do the one simple thing that everyone knows can dramatically reduce one’s chances of spreading COVID-19.

Under normal circumstances, the article entitled “Florida face mask hell a chilling warning for America” published late last week on a news site called The Washington Times would have likely gone entirely unnoticed by anyone outside the site’s core readership. For some reason, however, this particular opinion piece gained some traction in popular news apps like SmartNews and News Break. We’re not familiar with the site ourselves, but a cursory glance at the homepage suggests it’s a pretty run-of-the-mill conservative news blog. Here are five of the site’s most popular articles the time at the time of this writing, so you can get an idea of what we’re dealing with here:

  1. Revolutionary Communist Party leader backs Biden
  2. Dr. James Todaro launches Medicine Uncensored after hydroxychloroquine attacks
  3. IG Report confirms Obama lied about Hillary’s emails
  4. Donald Trump defies naysayers and beats Barack Obama poll numbers
  5. Secret weapon: Hidden Trump voters tell pollsters they are ‘undecided’

Just like all the excessively whiny liberal news blogs out there, excessively whiny conservative sites like The Washington Times are a dime a dozen these days. We’ve spent the past four years trying to ignore the crazies on both sides of the aisle, but sometimes a topic starts bouncing around the echo chamber that’s far too important to ignore. Right now, that topic is face masks.

In the case of the opinion piece in question, it’s packed full of unhinged alarmist ramblings from start to finish. The premise is one that, sadly, we’re all too familiar with. Any mandates that people wear face masks are authoritarian madness because… freedom! The argument is that face masks are being mandated by crazy liberal lawmakers not because they have been proven time and time again to help prevent the spread of bacteria diseases including COVID-19, but because democrats want to take away our freedom.

Here’s the intro from the article in question:

Florida’s got a problem with face masks — and it’s one that is terrorizing citizens, sending them to jail, stripping them of their most basic civil, human rights. For face masks. For failing or refusing to wear face masks.

Has America gone mad?

Has America actually turned this corner, where Black Lives Matter-aligned protesters-slash-thugs can, say, sling Molotov cocktails or bricks, destroy historical monuments and police stations, break into and loot private businesses with abandon — but it’s the face mask rebel who gets the jail time?

This hot take is positioned as a response to a recent incident in Broward County, where a gym owner was apparently arrested because someone in his gym wasn’t wearing a face mask. This is not a public safety issue in the author’s eyes, however. “There is a Constitution at stake,” the author cried. “There is freedom at stake. Florida’s far-left politicos have been busily using the coronavirus as the [Gestapo] boot that keeps on stamping, and they must be fought. For the sake of the state and nation — they have to be stopped.”

That’s right, this unhinged blogger just likened lawmakers’ efforts to address Florida’s off-the-charts explosion in new coronavirus cases to secret Nazi police rounding up and imprisoning German jews.

Here’s another choice excerpt. It comes after a string of three links to articles about a nightly curfew in Broward County and a mandate that requires a person to wear a face mask when visiting someone else’s home:

Good Lord, people. Is this what America has become? Democrats shrug off the tyranny as a necessary evil to protect citizens from the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are in such a downward spiral,” said Broward County Manager Bertha Henry to the Sun-Sentinel on COVID-19 numbers. “Miami-Dade cases are up around 3,000 a day.”

But let’s remember: These numbers are meaningless. It’s the case count versus recovery count that matters. If COVID-19 as a deadly virus is the justification for shutting down the country, closing schools, closing churches, closing people up in their homes, and ordering face masks for those who dare step outside — then it’s the percentage of fatalities that counts, and the truthful reporting of recoveries that matters even more.

“These numbers are meaningless,” the blogger contends. It would seem that she hasn’t bothered to take a look at this chart from The New York Times:

Image source: The New York Times

At one point, this whacko even pulled out the old “more people die from the flu” argument. Seriously. Anyone who can string together a five-word Google search knows that’s a blatant lie, but some people read patently false statements like that and blindly believe them. In case you’re wondering, the CDC estimates that roughly 34,200 people in the United States died of the flu during the 2018-2019 flu season. About twice that many Americans died of COVID-19 complications… in April 2020 alone.

Look, we could spend all day going through this ridiculous opinion piece to pick it apart. We could point out that each and every one of its assertions is baseless and ludicrous. But this isn’t about a single article. This article and its author are symptoms of a widespread problem that is quite literally costing Americans their lives. That’s no exaggeration — people believe this drivel, they lower their guard, and they get sick and spread the disease as a result.

The current administration spent the early days of the pandemic downplaying its severity. When it became clear that crossing their fingers and hoping wasn’t going to stop the novel coronavirus from spreading across the US, the administration changed its strategy and began politicizing the pandemic. That lit a fire under crazies like this author and led directly to garbage like this opinion piece in The Washington Times. It’s a dangerous and embarrassing spectacle with no end in sight.

Anti-maskers and coronavirus deniers were borne of the mind-boggling idiocy in Washington. Now, they continue to be empowered by it. This has become a pandemic in itself. Some of them are in so deep that they actually believe the craziness they spew, while others know they’re spreading dangerous misinformation but don’t care because it advances a political narrative. In either case, they often don’t come around until it’s too late, like the coronavirus denier we told you about last week. He claimed the novel coronavirus was a big hoax that “democrats were using it to create panic, crash the economy and destroy Trump’s chances at re-election.” Then he spread COVID-19 to his entire family and cost at least one of his relatives her life. He almost died as well.

Fortunately, there’s something that can protect us from these lunatics who want to convince everyone that face mask mandates about tyranny and control rather than public safety. That’s right… a face mask.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.

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