A masked afternoon at the theater

My general rule is that if an activity is dangerous enough to require wearing a mask then it is dangerous enough to avoid altogether. I wouldn’t go to a Broadway show, for example, because they’re telling me that it isn’t safe (masks are required as well as vaccine paper checks) and nothing stops me from staying home to watch Hamilton over and over and over and over again.

On April 23, 2022, however, my general policy was superseded by a directive from Extremely Senior Management (Mom, almost 88 years old). Off to the Round House Theater in Bethesda, Maryland, for a vaccine-and-mask-resistant SARS-CoV-2 variant spreading event. The show was “We declare you a terrorist…” concerning the Second Chechen War and jihadi takeover of a theater in Moscow. (In the best American tradition, the playwright Tim J. Lord who tackles this complex subject seems to have no background in Russian language, Russian culture, Islamic religion, history of Chechnya, etc.)

Anyone in Bethesda can tell you that checking photo ID for voters is racist. According to the Righteous, People of Color are too stupid to obtain photo IDs. Tending to confirm this theory, the Bethesda theater experience begins with an ID and vaccine paper check and there were no People of Color in the audience (unless Asians count).

Throughout the theater, there are numerous signs demanding mask-wearing:

As with the airlines in the Science-following pre-Mizelle era, COVID-19-suppression is enhanced by filling the lobby with unmasked people who are eating and drinking.

We acknowledge that we’re on land stolen from Native Americans, but we will neither give it back nor pay them rent:

No matter a person’s gender ID, he/she/ze/they will will find bathroom to suit him/her/zir/theirself:

Remember to fight COVID-19 by washing your hands:

This was made more challenging by the fact that the theater staff were too busy checking vaccine papers, photo IDs, and mask compliance to refill the soap dispensers.

I still can’t figure out why the people who printed up all of these signs and designed these protocols didn’t ask “Wouldn’t it make more epidemiological sense if we shut down our COVID-spreading theater altogether?”

25 thoughts on “A masked afternoon at the theater

  1. > According to the Righteous, People of Color are too stupid to obtain photo IDs.

    To be fair, they don’t explicit say this, although it is the logical conclusion from their position

    > We acknowledge that we’re on land stolen from Native Americans

    For those not from the northeast, Piscataway is also the name of a city in New Jersey that is home to two campuses of the main branch of Rutgers, as well as most of its athletic facilities including football and basketball, with the New Jersey Nets playing there after moving from New York and waiting for the Meadowlands Arena to be built. Ironically it was named for the Piscataqua River between New Hampshire and Maine.

  2. The Karen Industrial Complex that majored at Amherst in Gender Oppression in Africanized Honey Bees cannot ask questions, they need their paychecks. Any crisis is welcome!

  3. Surprised how much more conservative Greenspunland is compared to even Calif*. The only remaneing mask rule is BART. BART just created its own mask rule for no other reason than revenge against the republican judge. Unlike the repealed federal rule, it lasts forever. So many conservative Calif* laws are just revenge laws against crazy liberal republicans.

    • lion: Bethesda, Maryland has not been “Philip Greenspunland” since I was 15 years old and moved to Boston! My mom’s last name is “Greenspun” so I guess you could still call it “Greenspunland”!

      Looks as though San Francisco is still following Science. https://www.sfsymphony.org/Home/Safety says “Based on recommendations from the San Francisco Symphony’s Health and Safety Task Force, a face covering is required for entry into Davies Symphony Hall and must be worn at all times. Face masks must completely cover nose and mouth and have ear loops or similar to hold in place. Gaiters and bandanas are not acceptable. Due to the transmissibility of the Omicron variant, the SF Symphony strongly recommends that patrons wear a non-vented respirator, such as an N95, KN95, or KF94 face mask.” and “Patrons 12 and older must show proof of up-to-date vaccination, including booster dose if eligible (electronic, photo, or paper copy) along with valid identification.” (some people are eligible for 4 shots, so I think at least some people would be required to have 4 shots and an N95 mask to hear some music that they could have listened to streaming on their phones).

    • Perhaps the staff should just escort the attendees out the back after these having visited the facilities, read the signs and obeyed the same? An installation and a performance, if you will.

  4. @philg: We know there is no such thing as arguing with Extremely Senior Management, so you cannot be blamed. It’s quite possibly the only thing that still supersedes all theories, diktats, recommendations, Executive Orders, guidelines, personal protestations, #Science, peer pressure and just about everything else. That’s it! No arguments because you will never, ever live them down.

    Now, you can argue with Dad – sometimes – when you can prove he’s wrong – but as we all know, Dads are Second in Command. “Number One” as it were, in Star Trek TNG terms.

    I think Fauci should have taken advantage of this fact and identified as a woman!

    Prince Spaghetti:

  5. One would have thought that by now the masking would have ended and here we would have returned to the more usual fare of a 20 year old lap dancer having sex with a 70 year old chiropodist and being set for life, but alas that is not the case. In NYC, greatest city in the world circa 1940, most of the building employees, all young are still masked. I asked an unmasked Hispanic employee why, and he pointed out that most of the building employees were African American and they are masked because they are mostly unvaccinated. There is according to him a widespread belief in the African American community that the vaccine is dangerous and the mask will protect better. And on the streets of NYC one does seem to see a higher proportion of masking among African Americans. Also among the young, people in their 20’s, though presumably for a different reason. Entered a store today that had a sign in the the window that masking is appreciated or something like that. I ignored it, & besides employees the store was pretty much empty and the shelves were about 50% stocked. I found what I wanted and went to pay. The 20 something cashier, in fact it was more of a high end store so she would have thought of herself differently, shoved a box of masks at me and demanded i put one on, seemed a precondition to leaving with the merchandise — well, in fact i couldn’t really understand what she was saying because she was so tightly masked and not with one of those cotton things but more like the material that women’s leggings are made of, spandex or something like that. I didn’t really want to get into an argument with her, so I left my purchase on the counter and walked out. The purchase would have represented an hour or two of her wages for the day. Go figure.

  6. I have a question for science, why aren’t all of the unvaccinated nonmaskers dead? What happened to the winter of darkness promised to slay the unvaccinated by our esteemed President who should know because he is married to a Dr.?

    • 1 in 50 65+ year olds in the US are dead from Covid, whether maskers or non-maskers. I’d say that’s a lot of bodies.

    • “1 in 50 65+ year olds in the US are dead from Covid”

      Source? Also… is it “from” COVID or “with” COVID?

    • From this site: https://www.statista.com/statistics/1191568/reported-deaths-from-covid-by-age-us/

      Then divide by the demographic tab at the bottom.

      It’s more like 1 in 75 for 65+, and 1 in 125 for 50+.

      If you would’ve told me two years ago there would be a highly contagious respiratory disease that would kill ~ 1% of 55+ year olds in the US in two years, and one political party would pass laws explicitly forbidding local governments from taking any measures against said disease, I truly would’ve bet my entire fortune that it could not happen.

      But here we are.

    • Mike: As Germany and South Korea have demonstrated with their universal N95 mask orders and exponential plagues, and as fully vaccinated states and countries have demonstrated with their exponential plagues, there is only one demonstrated effective measure against COVID-19: staying home. No political party has forbid any American who wants to avoid SARS-CoV-2 exposure from staying home. Nor were any Americans who believed that a Massachusetts-style strategy (closed schools, open marijuana stores, restaurants open for booze-soaked Tinder dates, various mask orders) would protect them prevented from moving to Massachusetts (or California, New York, and the other states that had similar strategies).

      I think your complaint is that not every local tyrant was free to issue the orders that you personally would have enjoyed issuing. But you have cited no example of a state or country that has escaped COVID-19 via such orders. And you don’t seem to grasp that the beauty of the U.S. is its diversity. People who did not believe that saliva-soaked face diapers were protective could and did move to Florida. People who believed in the face rags could and perhaps did move to Maskachusetts or New York.

      (An alternative formulation of your statements is “I can’t believe that any political party would insist that the best way to deal with a respiratory virus pandemic is by following WHO guidance for how to deal with a respiratory virus pandemic.” See https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2021/02/23/who-guidance-on-pandemics-then-and-now/ )

    • You’ve gotten it exactly wrong, my complaint is that we can’t have a diversity of thought and perform A-B testing if the (R) governors outright ban any diversity of response.

      Yes, Germany and South Korea have both had a lot of cases, but the death rate there is at least an order of magnitude less than the US. Stating there is nothing we can do to impact outcomes is not supported by the evidence.

      NIH says masks worked in schools: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/mandatory-masking-schools-reduced-covid-19-cases-during-delta-surge

    • https://www.statista.com/statistics/1104709/coronavirus-deaths-worldwide-per-million-inhabitants/ shows that Germany has been barely touched by COVID-19, with only 1,616 deaths per million people thanks to mask orders, lockdowns, and 2+ years of technocratic control. Sweden, by contrast, shows just how bad things can be when a country gives the finger to the virus and refuses to mask up and lock down. With kids going to school every day while adults mingled, dead bodies accumulated in the streets of Stockholm, just as in 1351. Fully 1,805 Swedes (and recent migrants to Sweden) per million died (the Swedish MD/PhDs say that about half of the COVID-19-tagged deaths were among those who were on track to die of their various comorbidities within six months).

      Thanks for the NIH study, which seems to compare schools in different states (which means there can be tons of other factors). “Unravelling the Role of the Mandatory Use of Face Covering Masks for the Control of SARS-CoV-2 in Schools: A Quasi-Experimental Study Nested in a Population-Based Cohort in Catalonia (Spain)” https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4046809 looks at unmasked 5- and masked 6-year-olds in the same schools. The masks did not prevent transmission or infection.

      I think it is still true that “you have cited no example of a state or country that has escaped COVID-19 via such orders”. Germany’s death rate being 10 percent lower than Sweden’s is not “escape” in my book. First, you should consider all of the deaths that will be caused in the long run by the side effects of their lockdowns. Second, Sweden has a higher percentage of low-skill immigrants compared to Germany and low-skill migrants were more likely to die than native-born Swedes. For a domestic comparison, see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2022/04/14/year-3-of-the-covid-emergency-continues/ “California and Florida are right next to each other [in “excess deaths”] despite it being illegal to keep a school open in California and it being illegal to keep a school closed in Florida.” You complain that we can’t do A-B testing domestically because Republicans exist. But Republicans don’t exist in California or New York so California and New York can be pure Followers of Science. Why isn’t that the A in the A-B testing you’re looking for?

      Circling back to your original comment, the suggestion that COVID-19 has killed a lot of old Americans who were on track to live for many additional years is contradicted by Social Security’s finances. (see https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2021/09/04/wave-of-death-among-the-elderly-bankrupts-social-security/ )

      You may yet prove us all wrong by shorting life insurance companies that have a lot of customers in Republican-governed states. If you do end up making $200 million with your knowledge of the life-ending nature of Republican government, we will be pleased to accept a ride on your Gulfstream!

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