China Daily Global Edition (USA)
Anti-maskers continue to bleed US
Caleb Wallace, who had organized an anti-face mask movement in Texas, United States, died of COVID-19 on Saturday. He was just 30. Before him, H Scott Apley, a Texas Republican official who participated in a mask-burning party had died of COVID-19.
The anti-mask movement, which started during the 1918 flu pandemic, seems to have gained strength during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A century ago, the anti-mask groups said masks prevented people from getting enough oxygen. Today, such groups also claim the vaccines are actually microchips that connect vaccinated people to the 5G network so they can be spied on.
In other words, people are still spreading conspiracy theories in the US despite the great scientific and technological progress humans have made.
Worse, the anti-mask groups enjoy the support of some politicians. During the Donald Trump administration, most of those opposing mask wearing were Republican supporters. Even after the incumbent president, Joe Biden, issued an administrative order making the wearing of masks in public places mandatory, many people in Florida defied the regulation even though they had to pay a fine for it.
Unfortunately, wearing a mask has become a political, not a health-related, issue in the US. The anti-mask groups are using social networking sites to spread disinformation and attract more supporters. They have formed teams on social media platforms and held discussions to spread anti-science messages.
Will Wallace’s death make them change their minds? Probably not. For Apley’s death made no difference to them.
But by spreading lies, the antimask groups are making more people vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, which is still to be contained in the US.