Hello there, Dear Reader. Well, here we are on Thursday, August 13, 2020, and in my corner of Florida it is a hot summer morning. Currently, the temperature outside is 83˚F, but humidity at 87% and a south-southeasterly breeze blowing at 3 MPH with occasional gusts of 5 MPH, the feels-like temperatures are 99˚F in the open and 93˚F in the shade. The forecast calls for rain within the next half-hour, but it doesn’t look like we are going to have a “dark and stormy” afternoon here.
We are well into the seventh month of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic here in the Sunshine State, and quite a few of my fellow Floridians are still in denial that a public health crisis exists. There are still people that go on Facebook to complain about having to wear “muzzles” because other people – usually “liberals,” “Democraps,” and “socialists” – are either “afraid of a virus with only a 3% mortality rate” or are promoting fear in order to “ruin the economy and our President’s chances for re-election.”
This morning I had to block a Dutch-American Trump supporter on Facebook after an all-too-typical exchange prompted by her claim that wearing a “muzzle” is making her sick. She said that she is a waitress at a restaurant in Tavernier, Florida and that she suffers from sinus issues and other minor respiratory ailments because she wears a mask eight hours a day because it’s mandatory at her place of employment.
Like a large number of anti-maskers, this woman says that “muzzles” – her term, not mine – give people a “false sense of security,” don’t prevent “corona,” and that it is just “sheeple” and the “mainstream media” who are fearmongering and trying to cause panic so Trump doesn’t get re-elected.
This is just one of many self-identified conservatives – or, as they love to call themselves, “patriots” – who proudly display their ignorance on social media, not caring that they are espousing a selfish, reckless, and dangerous world-view.
I mean, seriously. Why are today’s Republicans so blind and narrow-minded that they allow their political and religious views to override medical and scientific realities, especially in a global pandemic that affects every country in the world – even though North Korea claims it has had no cases of COVID-19 – and claimed over 750,000 lives?
I can’t stand individuals like the woman I blocked on Facebook and Marion County (Florida) Sheriff Billy Woods, who is now making a name for himself for ordering all Sheriff’s Office personnel, including deputies, to not wear masks while on the job. He also decreed that anyone who enters the premises of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office must take their masks off.
According to various news reports, Woods, a Republican, wrote in an email dated August 11: “[M]y order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn.”
The reason for this insane edict?
“In light of the current events when it comes to the sentiment and/or hatred toward law enforcement in our country today, this is being done to ensure there is clear communication and for identification purposes of any individual walking into a lobby.”
Woods’ order comes in the wake of a resolution by Ocala’s city council to make masks mandatory for all residents when they are out and about in public buildings or running errands such as shopping or banking. The mayor, also a Republican, vetoed the resolution, but the council overrode the veto.
Woods defended his decision, claiming that the science behind the mask requirements is fuzzy at best.
“The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t,” Woods wrote in his infamous email. “Since the beginning of this pandemic the operation of this office has not changed and no wearing of masks has been put in place. With just at 900 employees, our number of cases so far has proven that the current way we are approaching the issue is working.”
You can’t, I suppose, fix stupid.
This is why we now have 5,202,520 known cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and 166,128 dead Americans.
 As of 10:27 AM Eastern time, per Johns Hopkins University.