After initially managing to bring the covid-19 infection rate down in California, the state I live in, and the state started to open up a bit, there has been a disturbing resurgence in cases, similar to rises seen in other states. It has not been statewide but mainly in certain counties. This has resulted in the governor Gavin Newsom ordering restrictions on behavior.
Newsom issued an order requiring nearly all Californians to wear masks in public last week, but the policy has met resistance in some parts of the state. In some of the counties where cases and hospitalizations have swelled, local officials have scaled back requirements to wear face masks in public amid rebellion. In Fresno county, a face mask rule was in place for a day before it was pulled back. In Riverside and San Bernardino counties, officials have flagged an increase in social gatherings as one of the main reasons cases and hospitalizations are rising. Both counties eased mask-wearing rules after public outcry.
In Orange county, the top health officer resigned after being harassed and receiving death threats over her countywide face mask order. Her replacement rescinded the order after pressure from the local board of supervisors.
“It really hasn’t helped that you’ve had some of these groups thinking that wearing a face mask is the first step in tyranny or communism,” said David Hayes-Bautista, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The recommendations are not that onerous so it is astonishing that some people treat them as unbearable intrusions on their liberty. It is clear that it is not the nature of the restrictions that bother them but that these people see any restrictions at all on their ‘freedom’ to do as they wish as intolerable, even if their actions risk harming others. Of course, any society has all manner of restrictions in the name of public safety (driving rules for example) but for some reason, these health rules are seen as particularly oppressive. It has to do with Trump making it a culture war issue. If he had endorsed the safety guidelines and followed them, we would not have this issue. But because of his attitude, Republicans are more likely than others to not wear masks when they come into contact with others.
As far as I am aware, the area I live in has not seen a surge and I see people following the safety protocols.
Meanwhile, the government has warned that certain brands of hand sanitizers contain methanol that could be toxic so should not be used. Only ethanol-based sanitizers are recommended.