The Lack of Mask Consistency

Yesterday, we went to a Yankee-Cleveland baseball game in the Bronx, and it was marvelous. Overpriced beers. Lazy afternoon with family. The Yanks got totally slaughtered, but we didn’t care.

Even though I moved out of the Bronx when I was five, there’s still a lot of Bronx in me. Those are my people. And look! None of them are wearing masks. The stadium was completely packed. No masks. Not even on the food service people.

And that was fine with me. I’m vaxxed. If there were people in the stadium who weren’t vaxxed… Well, at this point, I think I’ll let God and Darwin sort that one out. I probably wouldn’t take my parents to a large public venue like that, until they get a booster shot, but other oldies were there. So, were lots of kids.

When we went to church that morning, there was no social distancing or masks there either. Broadway opened up again, too, though I think they are requiring proof of vaccination.

So, ball games and church are fully open, and other places are open normally with proof of vaccination. So, why are schools still being so strict? Why are more offices not completely open?

The lack of consistency about masks/distancing/vaccine mandates is all terribly confusing. Since COVID isn’t going away, they really do need to hammer out some consistent sane rules.

73 thoughts on “The Lack of Mask Consistency

  1. We have in door mask mandates for everyone and outdoor mask mandates for gatherings larger than 500 people and mask mandates in our schools. People are wearing masks as far as I can tell.

    We will have a vax mandate for restaurants and pubs and have one for school employees.

    So, not seeing a consistency problem in my neck of the woods.

    I provided my vax card for the first time (to a volunteer org) and had to review the quarantine rules for the first time this week. Friend of kiddo tested positive on a rapid test so I was gearing up to see if quarantines were going to be necessary. The subsequent PCR test was negative, so we didn’t have to figure out the rules, but discovered anyway that being vaxed meant we didn’t have to quarantine, and could monitor symptoms + test on day 3-5. Without the vax, the quarantine rules are onerous.

    (Also, lost some confidence in the rapid tests)


    1. New York and New Jersey have case rates substantially lower than Washington, potentially justifying lower standards at Yankee games than Mariners games.

      I’ll note that schools are different because children have to be there, unlike baseball games. We’re not going to crowded events or indoor dining, but kid is going to school.


  2. In the places most in need of masking, you can’t be elected if you support them and if you are an appointed health official, you will get death threats listing your home address and where your kids go to school is


    1. MH said, “In the places most in need of masking…”

      What kind of masking?

      Much of the masking that we’ve been doing hasn’t been effective.


  3. I realize I’m a bit of an outlier in that I support masking until we see really low case rates. My kids and I wear them all day long, including when we work out/do fitness classes indoors, and we’ve adjusted. I know not everyone can.

    I had pneumonia 9 years in a row growing up, badly enough to need oxygen about half those times, plus lingering lung issues for a decade (I still have scarring but gradually increased my lung capacity) and so feeling like I can’t breathe is ugh. So is Covid, and I think I’m acutely aware of what a year or two’s recovery for those with bad lung infections (never mind if you actually have to get ventilated) could be like. For me, it meant all through my 20s I couldn’t run for a bus or do a workout without feeling awful. Now that I don’t feel that way and I love running and working out, and don’t even mind going to where I’m out of breath deliberately, because I’m confident that I can regain my breath in a way I wasn’t earlier in my life…I’m so aware of the difference. And yes, a KN95 mask makes me woozy if I run up the stairs and the lesser procedure masks we wear for our full days/workouts are not 100% effective, and in both sometimes I am reminded of the feeling of not being able to catch my breath. I don’t *like* them. But I don’t need it to be perfect. If it gives someone around me or me a reduction of 10% chance they will end up with scarred lungs, I’m all for it.

    So for me, I actually can see a logic in it – when you go to a movie or a game, that’s an optional activity and you can choose your risk level. But school is pretty required and education of children a huge human right, so I think a higher standard to limit potential Covid spread, especially for kids that can’t get vaccinated yet, actually is appropriate. Here, because they are still required in so many places, it’s just pretty normal to have ’em on.

    I do feel for kids who are learning phonics though and I think it’s appropriate to find ways to teach that without masks (at the very least, on the teacher) because there is critical information that needs visibility there. There are the special masks for it.


    1. Jenn said, “If it gives someone around me or me a reduction of 10% chance they will end up with scarred lungs, I’m all for it.”

      Is it likely that it provides a 10% reduction if you are vaccinated and they are vaccinated?

      I don’t think we know that–nobody has done that research yet.


  4. I should note too that we do have an anti-mask, and an anti-vax movement here too. But I think one reason it has less hold in my area is that after SARS-1, where Toronto was an epicentre and our tourism industry took a huge hit, masking became more common in places like ERs and clinic offices, where even pre-Covid there was often a sign and a box of masks like “if you are coughing or sneezing, please take a mask and wear it.”

    Other changes included public washrooms with no external front door (usually it’s a sort of S-shaped entrance, so you can wash your hands and then not have to use a paper towel to open the inner doorknob) and touchless sinks and soap dispensers and hand dryers.


  5. My first thought on these masking arguments, including arguments about consistency and hypocrisy is that they are really about whether we will continue to take measures as a society to mitigate risk or we will move on to individuals being in charge of their own risk management. I don’t think many who want to move to the second stage (trust in the vaccine and/or personal choice) would be happier with “better” mask mandates.

    My risk tolerance pretty much matches the conservative choices being made by public officials in my world. Not always — I was upset when schools were still closed in spring of last year and I am wary of extensive “best” quarantine scenarios. But, I’m comfortable (including with the easing and tightening of restrictions). I hope it’ll keep our death rate down (FL & TX have more than 2x the death rate). That’s a cost for freedom I don’t want.

    (BTW, I think for policy comparisons, death rates need to be calculated after the first wave that devastated the Northeast US).


  6. And, I think mask mandates combined with eating/drinking basically don’t work. Since people don’t eat during a Broadway show (or ballet or opera) or school classes, I think masking in those spaces can be enforced.

    There might be places where we currently allow eating/drinking where it could be limited (our ferries, as an example, and maybe airplanes?). But, cafes, restaurants, clubs, are all places where people are drinking/eating most of the time they are there.


    1. bj said, “And, I think mask mandates combined with eating/drinking basically don’t work.”


      I once saw a Hometown U. employee attempt to enforce a mask-while-not-actively-eating-or-drinking rule on a table of college boys, and it was obviously going to be a losing battle. You can’t police everybody all the time like that.


  7. I think there’s no consistency because the situations aren’t the same. Being outdoors? Maybe not so risky. Being indoors in a school that likely has poor ventilation, when kids under 12 are unvaxed? Higher risk.

    I thought bj had a good point too about voluntary vs involuntary activities.


  8. With regard to what religious institutions are doing, it depends on the organization. Most states are reluctant to try to regulate them after a series of SCOTUS rulings.

    Our synagogue in NYC is requiring masks and vaccinations (negative test for kids under 12) to attend services.


    1. There’s a sign on the door saying the bishop requests that you get vaccinated if possible and wear a mask regardless of vaccination status. About two thirds are masked.


      1. At the moment, I only wear a mask when I have to here in Central Texas, which is mostly at doctor’s offices or in schools. I’ve gotten back to my pre-June habit of wearing a mask around my neck for outings, just in case it’s needed. Our kids’ private school currently has a masking rule, so my 3rd grader and 11th grader have to wear masks at school. (I note that the upper school receptionist’s face is often bare–but she’s got to talk on the phone.) My 11th grader masks when volunteering at the public elementary school our private school has a relationship with. (Quite a number of local school districts are in fights with the state over mask mandates.)

        I’d say about 40-50% of people in the grocery store are wearing masks. It’s not strictly required–but it is encouraged, and a lot of people are doing it. Hometown U. is requiring masks in classrooms and labs and a few other places, but almost no students are wearing masks in the dining halls, although cafeteria workers are usually masked. I’m not sure about how the residence halls are handling things. It may be that Hometown U. is sticking to the classroom/lab rule because it’s so much easier to police and those are places that people actually have to be. I’ve also seen a sign at the library encouraging students to wear masks when sitting together and working there–although I don’t know that that is much respected. Hometown U. has gotten student/employee vaccinations up to around 75% without requiring vaccination, but with a requirement of twice weekly testing for the unvaccinated (the employee rate is a lot higher than 75%, but there are more students than employees). Very few people at the college Catholic church wear masks, but when I go to parent meetings at a different parish, just about everybody masks.

        I haven’t been out and about much lately, aside from school and grocery and doctors’ apts and church., so I can’t really speak to what other places of business are doing. I suspect that masking is mostly lower than at the grocery store at other businesses.

        Local COVID was high (REALLY high) for the past month or so, but it’s flattening/falling right now. I expect a good fall, but wonder whether Hometown U. won’t have to tweak its Thanksgiving plans in favor of the 2020 approach, which was to send the kids home for the winter at Thanksgiving. Hometown U. has had very moderate levels of COVID cases this fall, except for a little blip in the first week or so–and that despite heavy testing.

        About 80% of hospitalized local COVID patients are unvaccinated–so the overwhelming majority, but not everybody.

        I continue to note the absence of vaccine PSAs on the radio. Nobody ever did a big, sustained push on the radio. There was a little blip where there was some advertising, and then it was over. I also note that I’ve never been offered a vaccine by a doctor or asked by a doctor if I were vaccinated. I would say that a lot of local entities (like school and church) seem pretty reluctant to explicitly encourage vaccination, although Hometown U. is the exception.

        I will say, though, that Texas continues to steadily increase vaccination levels. I hope it’s not all booster shots, though…


      2. I’m about to navigate the tricky social landscape of planning a small, COVID-era birthday party for our 3rd grader in about 3 weeks. The problem is that I don’t really know what other parents’ comfort zones are, because I haven’t seen them for a while in person. My social life has gotten really small.

        My current plan is to touch bases with my kid’s BFF’s mom and figure out what the mom is comfortable with, and then work from there. I could invite just the one family, or maybe 3 families total, and we could potentially do most stuff outside (zipline, chalk, bubbles, cornhole, hotdogs, Smores, painting some pumpkins, etc.).

        The kids spend all day in the same classroom (I don’t think cloth masks keep working for 8 hours), so I don’t think it really matters, but I don’t know what people’s preferences are.

        I also have a plan to put together a small movie outing for my 11th grader with a few friends. His good friend’s dad is a doctor and the family is very careful, but I think we’ve collectively agreed that we’d wait until local COVID trended down a bit–which is starting to happen.


    2. I would be intrigued to hear more about what influences people when masking is requested (or required), presuming no partisan opposition to masks. Other people’s behavior in a community (which includes churches and should include schools, but maybe not public transportation)? Case rates? (which influence me — I made different choices in June, when our rates were low — I went shopping and didn’t wear a mask).


  9. I’m working in the public library right now. No masks any where. It might be voluntary for me to work here, but the workers have to be here, just as they had to be at Yankee stadium, so the voluntary v. Mandatory dichotomy doesn’t work. Let’s just be honest … the only reason there are masks in schools is because of the teachers union.


    1. If my children were unvaccinated/under 12, there is no way I would send them to school without a mask mandate. I don’t think it’s just teachers. If I wasn’t in a financial/work position to do that, I would be pretty damned pissed off and would be at school committee meetings.


      1. Our kid’s public school and the private school he went to before and my kid’s private college are all masked and only one of them has a teachers union.

        And, yes, my kid didn’t get real school from March 2020 until September 2021. Terrible, but not disastrous, so I don’t have the same context.


      2. It would be so hard to manage having an under 12 yo and no faith in the safety precautions at a school that was taking the survival of the “fittest” approach.

        But at least it looks like they may get a vaccine sooner rather than later.


      3. Do you drive with young children in your car? It is safer for them to attend a school without a mask than it is to get in a car with you (or anyone).

        Honestly, I think the mask-at-all times-for-young-kids position is crazy. The most important thing for them is that all the adults are vaccinated, Fauci said this weekend. But the same unions refuse to mandate that. Eyeroll. This argument is so silly that I refuse to get mired in it. As long as schools stay open, I’ll wear a tutu on my head if that what the union wants.


      4. No, I don’t drive with young children in my car and I would try to avoid it if I could. And, if I did, I would require everyone to be masked and all the >12 year olds to be vaxed.


      5. The Washington Education Association supported the Governor’s vaccination mandate for K-12.

        ““By vaccinating staff we reduce the possibility of infecting those who cannot be vaccinated, including our students under 12 years old,” wrote WEA President Larry Delaney.”

        I have heard of a MA union that opposes a mandate and wants incentives instead, but many teacher’s unions are supportive of the vaccine mandate. The Pringle (NEA) and Weingarten (AFT) both support vaccine mandates for teachers (though there is conversation around testing alternatives & exemptions).

        I believe, though I’m not certain, that Washington’s mandate doesn’t have a testing exception.


      6. I should say, I “imagine” that I would require it, since one can really not know what one would do until faced with the issue. I think it’s reasonable to ask how a fairly risk averse person like me is managing different risks, but I think you would find about most questions that I am being pretty risk averse in many ways. The caveat is that I don’t *need* to do most of what I am avoiding. The question of driving an <12 year old my car hasn't arisen at all, for example. All of my 17 yo's friends are vaccinated (as are my 20 year old's). Both my children are also fairly risk averse and aren't asking to go to unmasked keggers.

        The younger one was creeped out when two girls he knows drove by our house and asked him to come out and smoke, and then sent him a picture of our house, to which they have never been (and offended that they'd asked since he has a girlfriend). Reminded me when you were telling us about what the girls were sending J on his phone (though kid has not revealed any inappropriate pictures).

        So we make our choices based on what our lives are, and thus, all I could say was that I imagine that I would find it very difficult to navigate right now with an vaccinated <12 year old who I loved.


      7. I recognize that we had things relatively well situated last year. School was largely in-person for all of 2020-21. Very much different from normal, but not remote. The very strictness of the masking and other rules were I think a large part of that. This year is more normal as they have looked at what seems essential and what can be loosened, but the masks have stayed.


      8. Yes, of course. But I made them wear seatbelts.

        And I do agree that schools, like driving, are a necessity and that once we realized the risk level for kids It was foolish to consider the remote education a viable substitute. But I want mitigation and I want plans to be updated based on what’s happening.

        Four cases since school opened in my son’s high school (lots of vaccination, masking, but no regular testing)


      1. In NYC, the UFT has not fought against the Mayor’s requirements that all teachers be vaccinated. They disputed what should happen to the teachers with legitimate exemptions.

        I would mandate the vaccine for the students as well and not have mask mandates for high schools.

        I would keep the masks for the schools with kids < 12 as another safety measure.


  10. And the New Jersey teacher’s union backs the Governor’s vax/testing mandate. So not sure which unions are mandating universal masking but not vaccines for staff. Local ones?

    Our local union also did not oppose the mandate.


    1. ? There is no vaccine mandate in our state. NEA and UFT have fought against mandates all year. Now, they say they are in favor of mandates or weekly testing. There’s a huge loophole. Fauci did not allow for that huge loophole.


      1. There is, as bj said, a vax/testing mandate in NJ according to this article: It may not be in place right now, but it was announced in August with an October deadline.
        The article includes a statement from the NJ teachers’ union that supports this vax/testing mandate.

        “NJEA President Marie Blistan, Vice President and President-elect Sean M. Spiller, Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President-elect Steve Beatty and Secretary-Treasurer-elect Petal Robertson issued this statement:

        “From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have called for following the guidance of public health officials to keep the students and staff in our public schools safe. Gov. Murphy has been a great partner in that effort to ensure that our students continue to learn and grow while remaining as protected as possible. Today’s executive order, which requires school employees either to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to undergo regular COVID-19 testing, is another example of Gov. Murphy’s unwavering commitment to the health and safety of NJEA members and the students we serve.”


  11. The Toronto public board has mandated vaccines – a bit late given everything but they are required for trustees, educational staff, and anyone else coming into contact with students, “unless they have an approved exemption under the human rights code.” (That would be a medical or certain specific religious exemptions.) Current polls (not the same as requiring certificates) is that 83% already are, not sure how that tracks there.

    My business is required as of Wednesday to require a vax passport for clients over 18 and masks are mandated (as they are in schools), so it is a pretty different set of rules.



    Zaid Jilani tweets:

    “I don’t understand how elected officials are trying to make America one of the only countries in the world masking two year olds while simultaneously ditching masks and ignoring their own mandates anytime they don’t feel like it. Legitimacy depends on sense of shared sacrifices.”

    “London Breeds explanation for why she didn’t adhere to her own mask mandate was basically that she didn’t feel like it. She’s an elected official. She works for the people. Her hedonistic desires aren’t relevant. Yet how much of political culture is full of those now?”

    Here’s the video of London Breed:

    In the first several minutes, she says she was eating and drinking, and then it turns out that she was photographed dancing unmasked. She also says that everybody was vaccinated, so it’s OK that they were unmasked, but if you look at SF’s mask mandate, vaccination status doesn’t matter:

    “You must wear a mask indoors in public places, even if you are vaccinated.”

    It’s apparently too much to ask Breed and her friends to obey her own rules and mask in a nightclub, while meanwhile SF 2-year-olds are required to wear masks all day in daycare…

    Mask rules are (literally) for little people–if you are important enough, it doesn’t apply to you.


    1. So, if Breed was consistently wearing a mask, would you be more likely to wear one? I suspect there aren’t too many people who fall in that category. I believe everyone should follow the rules, but I think the focus on violations by individuals is largely irrelevant.


      1. I disagree that policy makers disregarding mask mandates is irrelevant. It isn’t the hypocrisy so much as it indicates they don’t believe it. They presumably work with public health to determine what is necessary. But when they disregard it repeatedly, when they say things like these are sophisticated people, so it’s fine, they are showing they don’t actually believe it is necessary. That’s the problem.

        People recognize that, and are then understandably angry when the mask mandates are enforced on them. Not to mention being angry at the obvious double standard.


      2. “It isn’t the hypocrisy so much as it indicates they don’t believe it”

        I agree that this interpretation is a concern, but don’t agree that generally lack of compliance in one individual in one set of circumstances does not mean that one does not believe in the policy, generally.

        I ate in a restaurant that was too crowded by my own standards a few weeks ago (eating with a friend, it was too sunny outside, and too hard to change my mind). I still think it is a bad idea to eat in crowded restaurants and will try not to do it.

        In a mayor’s case it is definitely an “own goal”, a mistake that goes beyond the personal. But, it doesn’t mean that the policy is wrong (or even that she believes the policy is wrong). If she blatantly and continually violates the rule because she thinks *her* circumstances are always special, well, a rule change is in order, because very few are that special (and even if they are, no one will believe them, i.e. caesar’s wife).

        In this instance, I do think her actions do show that requiring masks in places where food and drink are being consumed means that masks aren’t going to be consistently worn, or potentially worn at all by those consuming food and drink. Policy makers should take into account that masking by eaters/drinkers restaurants/bars/etc is pretty much the same as not masking in those spaces. Does that mean other mitigation measures are required? Vax proof? more distancing? better ventilation? closing the in door spaces? Probably. The workers, who are not there to eat and drink, can wear masks, though.


      3. You may be able to argue that this is a one off for her, but for politicians as a class. They have written exceptions into the law (remember the gym for cops and city workers in San Francisco was not closed until it became a news article) repeatedly. Over and over we see the connected break quarantine, ignore no travel and stay at home orders, and disregard masks and not only are there no consequences, they are defended. I hear people repeatedly say wearing a mask is a minor inconvenience. Then why can’t politicians and other so-called elites just wear them, just follow the rules?

        I think it’s because they don’t believe it.


      4. Yes, context matters, and I don’t know the context in SF & California enough to have a more specific opinion about these specific politicians. I think our politicians have been pretty dull and been following the rules (as far as I know).

        (I do know someone who flew in a private jet to have a birthday dinner at the French Laundry, but they are a private rich person who doesn’t purport to make rules for others)

        i do think that if you look at the epidemiologists who recommend masking forever, keeping kids out of school if they aren’t vaccinated, . . . that most to of them are really following very strict guidelines personally. They are, relatively, a privileged lot (who have money to weather difficulties, jobs they can do from home, resources to hire nannies, . . . .).


      5. I agree with Tulip’s points in this discussion. It has been abundantly clear that (especially post-vaccines) that US elites are very happy to socialize indoors unmasked. There really isn’t a current elite norm of vaccinated, masked socializing–and there have already been a number of instances of masks going on purely for photo-op purposes.

        Breed rather obviously doesn’t believe that it’s a life-or-death situation that she needs to mask in this tiny, very crowded nightclub where just about everybody is bare-faced. If she really believed that it was dangerous, she wouldn’t take her mask off, or she wouldn’t go at all.

        And I think she’s basically right that it’s not dangerous, assuming she doesn’t have any medically fragile family members at home. The Bay Area is very highly vaccinated. If it’s not safe for San Francisco residents to stop masking now–when is it going to be safe?

        Aside from that, really, how much additional safety does a cloth mask provide to a vaccinated person? The vaccination has to be doing almost all the heavy lifting in this situation.

        If we actually thought that masking made a difference for vaccinated people, we wouldn’t be allowing cloth masks to fulfill the requirement–we’d be requiring surgical masks or better, like they do in Germany.

        Requiring masks and allowing cloth masks to qualify is an absurdity. We’re going to look so stupid for doing this.


      6. I think my favorite COVID politician story was the mayor of Austin who literally did his “Stay at home!” video message while vacationing in Cabo.

        “In early November [2020], as health officials warned of an impending COVID-19 spike, Austin Mayor Steve Adler hosted an outdoor wedding and reception with 20 guests for his daughter at a trendy hotel near downtown.

        “The next morning, Adler and seven other wedding attendees boarded a private jet bound for Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where they vacationed for a week at a family timeshare.

        “One night into the trip, Adler addressed Austin residents in a Facebook video: “We need to stay home if you can. This is not the time to relax. We are going to be looking really closely. … We may have to close things down if we are not careful.””

        I cannot even imagine the thought process that goes into doing that sort of thing. But it has happened over and over and over again during the pandemic–there’s one set of rules for them, and other set for us.

        And yes, all of this stuff has the potential of increasing vaccine skepticism.


  13. In my social circle, I know a lot of parents who have (like me) children too young to get vaccinated. In this group, I hear a lot of willingness to wear masks everywhere. It helps encourage the kids to wear them properly, and even a marginal reduction in risk is worth it when you could bring it into the house with the kids. This will fall off dramatically once the vaccine is approved for their kids. For now though, I even see lots of masks among parents I know are vaccinated at (completely outdoor) school pickup/drop off.

    Lots of parents with younger children are also being very limited about other activities/social gatherings. No one wants to risk anything until they can get their kids vaccinated.


    1. Yes, another example of how different the world looks to different people in different circumstances. I don’t have under 12 year olds in my extended social circle (the youngest ones turned 12 this spring and summer, and were promptly vaccinated). I also don’t personally know any children who really suffered with remote school (failed classes, weren’t served by their IEPs, had significant mental issues) (that’s a judgment call, of course). I do know people who worked in person (mostly health care folks, and now, teachers). I also know at risk people (with more significant health issues, but also the range of weight, diabetes, high blood pressure, and age that are common). I also know only a few people who have tested positive for COVID, and only one (a grandparent of someone my daughter played basketball with years ago, to point out the distance) who died (and that was early in the pandemic).

      But, I try hard, very hard, to listen to perspectives of those with different personal knowledge. This blog is a source for the disruption of education greater than what I see; others provide a perspective of people who know multiple people who have died of COVID, children who have been orphaned, . . . .


    2. Really interesting scenario playing out here in NZ in our Playcentre (a unique NZ concept of parent-led, child-centred ECE).
      Because Playcentre is run by parent co-operatives – there is starting to be some serious warfare over vaccination AND masking on session (that is vaccination and masking of adults, not of pre-schoolers) in the centre leadership. Their model of consensus management means that everyone *has* to agree….. a serious challenge when you have this kind of ethical divide.

      The social niche of Playcentre includes both wealthy, highly educated, stay-at-home Mums (who are more likely to be pro-vaccine, and willing to mask) and poorer alternative lifestylers (AKA hippy mums) with minimal education – who are into self-sufficiency, and more likely to be anti-vax (including routine childhood vaccinations – and still believers in autism caused by vaccine)

      I’ve been ‘out’ of Playcentre for 9-years – (My son is nearly 14) but still have contacts there.
      The disputes are getting venomous….


  14. I agree that the national unions were laggards last year in accepting change after everything was shut down. But, I see different attitudes now (though mandates played a big role in the change — governors need to step up).

    At least four state governors have issued vaccine mandate orders for teachers (WA, NJ, NY, and CA). I believe on WA’s does not permit a testing option.

    Biden has issued a vaccine mandate for employees, under OSHA, which applies to teachers in 26 states that do not have direct oversight through OSHA:

    “Counterintuitively, the way OSHA laws define “employer” means the new regulations will only apply to school districts with more than 100 employees in states that are NOT subject to direct oversight by OSHA. ”

    Biden’s order will be challenged, but as far as I know, not by the teachers unions in those states.

    I do consider the testing option a loophole, but how big depends on how it is implemented (most notably who pays for the tests).


    1. I think that’s because in June/July they thought the worse was over and they wouldn’t be needed. Once it became apparent that that wasn’t true they put in the mandates with the September/October dates.


  15. I don’t wear a mask outside, or when exercising. I am on a project with two virologists and they say not needed. Despite what Fauci says, I’m not sure we will see vaccination for kids. The study Pfizer is pushing has problems. The FDA is so far holding the line. The FDA has a YouTube channel and you can see the evidence they considered there if you choose.

    There are good reasons to not approve boosters for people under 65


    1. I did note that the Pfizer study on 5-12 year olds only says that antibodies were present after the vaccine, and nothing about infection or disease, which is frustrating.

      I think there is enormous pressure to approve both booster shots for everyone & vaccines for 5-12 year olds and do hope the FDA sticks with their scientific standards.

      I’m guessing that the approval for those “over 65 or at high risk” means that concierge medicine type folks will be getting the booster if they want one (as well as antibody testing that they interpret to mean that they get covid-free cards).


      1. bj said, “I did note that the Pfizer study on 5-12 year olds only says that antibodies were present after the vaccine, and nothing about infection or disease, which is frustrating.”


        Some of the discussion I’ve seen online has mentioned that because the COVID hospitalization rate is so small for this age group, you need an enormous number of kid participants to demonstrate a reduction in hospitalization risk.

        “I think there is enormous pressure to approve both booster shots for everyone & vaccines for 5-12 year olds and do hope the FDA sticks with their scientific standards.”

        Yeah. Two top FDA people already resigned, apparently over the administration’s booster plan:

        I’ve personally been very relieved by the fact that the FDA increased the number of kids in the 5-11 study group, and by the fact that the dose used for 5-11 is 1/3 the size of the 12+ dose.

        Our plan is currently that we will get a 1st dose for our 3rd grader and then wait a bit and see how things are going with 2nd dose side affects. In any case, longer spacing seems to have been beneficial for older age groups in places like the UK.

        “I’m guessing that the approval for those “over 65 or at high risk” means that concierge medicine type folks will be getting the booster if they want one ”

        6 weeks ago, nearly a million people had already gotten a booster shot without there being any kind of formal approval. Presumably, the number has grown a lot since then. It’s not exactly hard to get a third shot, if you want one.

        I’m still trying to talk my husband out of going for a third shot until there’s more information about benefits and side effects.


      2. Another thing about boosters:

        My husband (age 48) recently asked his doctor for a prescription for a booster. Doc said that they weren’t giving prescriptions (probably because it’s not approved yet), but that he knew that people were getting boosters, and I believe the doctor mentioned some locations where people were doing it.

        Part of my husband’s motivation (and probably some other people have the same idea) is to get in and get a booster before the rules get more restrictive and he gets locked out until the FDA decides that it’s time for him–whenever that might be.

        Of course, booster talk does fuel the perception that the vaccine isn’t very effective…

        You also hear of people fudging kids’ ages to get a 12+ shot for an under-12 kid. Given that the official 5-11 shots are going to be much smaller than the 12+ shot, this isn’t awesome.


      3. I hope you attempt to dissuade your husband from getting an unapproved booster. More is not necessarily better and the FDA declined to approve boosters for everyone, in part, because of the risks from boosters. (no vaccine is risk free, that’s why there is a vaccine court)


  16. Harvard arch-conservative Adrian Vermeule says, “It’s not hypocrisy–it’s hierarchy.”

    Rules for little people!

    Exceptions for important people!


  17. This is really good:

    “A two-dose version of Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine provides 94% protection against symptomatic infection, the company said Tuesday — making a two-dose regimen of J&J’s Janssen vaccine comparable to a two-dose regimen of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s.”

    “A second study showed people given a booster shot six months or longer after their first dose had a 12-fold increase in antibodies — compared to a four-fold increase for people who got a second dose at two months. So protection should be stronger if people get boosters later, Dr. Dan Barouch, head of Beth Israel Deaconess’ Center for Virology and Vaccine Research, told CNN.”


    1. Well, that was a worthwhile read. Interesting connections and stories. But, I feel like she needs a book, not an article and an editor.

      The Frankfort kitchen, plans for a segregated commune with central kitchens, ad Gilman’s horrifying vision of re-enslaving black people to free white women from kitchen labor are intriguing tidbits that raise a lot of questions in my mind.

      The author talks of domestic labor, and not child care, but, the article raised the larger questions of all unpaid labor in the home and how we deal with it as a society. I’ve always wondered, in some sense, how paying for child care as a society makes sense if it is a choice of work we are reallocating, rather than the economic value of the work. It’s always been clear to me (though potentially not others) that child care would be expensive. When does that expense make sense? In the US, we make that decision individually; some buy it as a luxury good because we prefer to spend our time doing other things; others struggle to find economic viability because they need to work (the stories about how childcare workers don’t want to work for the pay right now, but that raising pay isn’t an option because people can’t by childcare if it costs more). Yellen is being quoted as saying that child care is a societal good that needs to be a shared cost for our economy.

      Is there a cabinet deep enough to hold our grief?


      1. I, too, thought that the dichotomy between child-care costs was interesting (unpaid if by parents, paid (if at a low rate) by non-family members).

        It also plays out here in NZ – where caregivers (of disabled, or sick people – not only children) who are non-family members are paid, but family members are not. Even in the situation where a wife (for example) has to give up her job to be a full-time caregiver to her husband (disabled by a stroke, or disease, or car accident) – and the two then have to live off his disability pension.

        There is an absolute implicit assumption that family will be the main caregivers, and that there is only support provided by the state, where family is unable to provide this service.
        If you choose to continue working, then you have to pay for the care yourself (no state funding).

        And, because caregivers are lowly paid, it’s a high-churn job – and many families do sacrifice their careers and lives to prevent their loved ones suffering in that situation.

        One of the things I’ve been looking at here in NZ – is the correlation between the teen suicide rates (which have trended steadily upwards) with the period when many children started going to childcare at a very early age (from 6 months) – and this was explicitly encouraged by the state (Feminist agenda – get women back into paid employment).
        Note this is correlation, not causation.
        But I can’t help wondering if there is a link between that very early lack of security (no one principal caregiver) which we know (research) is a distress factor for babies and has impacts on their development) and later psychological impacts on teens with low self-esteem.

        Note: there is good research that ECE from about the age of 2.5 can have positive benefits for the child (especially for children who don’t come from a stimulating home environment), but the benefits below that age are non-existent.

        As a society, we expect that traditional ‘women’s work’ is either ‘free’ or paid at low rates.

        As a side note, Lois McMaster Bujold wrote a SF novel “Ethan of Athos” – in the 80s, which posited a completely male-only world.
        Reproduction was via artificial incubators – and child care was explicitly costed (and paid for) by the State – as a public good (raising the next generation). You also had to accumulate social ‘credits’ to qualify as a parent, AND undergo mandatory counselling and assessment. Being a father was a high-status job.
        The protaganist was horrified to find that this work was an unpaid economic burden on women on other worlds.


    2. BTW, about panels, I was surprised because I thought they were a expensive house 90’s trend, not a new trend. My house had panels for the appliances (refrigerator, dishwasher). They were freakishly expensive. I think they were related to the open kitchen plan, because you can see the kitchen from many spaces on my main level. When we replaced the refrigerator 15+ years ago, I insisted on replacing the panel, but I gave up when we replaced the dishwasher.

      I also absolutely detest cabinets without handles. I thought that was money saving trend, to avoid buying hardware. But, I guess sleek plastic looks contribute as well.

      I was also surprised to learn that Williams Sonoma sells refrigerators? and that Dolce & Gabbana has a 50K designer model with jousting on it? Smeg refrigerators? They don’t seem to fit the minimalist trend at all.

      My suspicion is that the NYT article was a puff, instantaneous trend (though the proliferation of refrigerators in the house, more than one, in spaces like bedrooms and bathrooms probably is a trend).


      1. The NYT article read like an ad for Sub Zero refrigerators. I would also have said they’re a ’90s item.

        I have relatives who suffer the SubZero vacuum effect. The refrigerator will essentially lock itself for a certain period of time, after you retrieve an item.* Those fridges are also built-in, so you’re also locked into that particular brand of refrigerator. No changes allowed! One friend had to deal with an annoying hum that reverberated through the house due to a fan problem, magnified by all that cabinetry.

        Another relative just told me his Sub-Zero has some sort of computer problem, which needs to be debugged.

        The one good thing about them, in my opinion, is that they are narrow, so items won’t be lost in the back. That’s also a bad thing about them, because that means they’re massive, a large commitment to inefficient storage. However, because they’re distinctive, everyone will know you spent a lot on your fridge, which I suppose is the point.

        The thing to remember about the sort of people who have designers put together their kitchens–they aren’t limited to one house. So they aren’t necessarily living with the stuff the designers put into the kitchens. And also remember designers are paid a percentage of the items they order, so there’s an incentive to, um, leave frugality behind.

        *Now, I must admit, my relatives bought their kitchen items through an auction/clearance sale, and waited years to put them into their dream house. So this particular refrigerator might have frustrated its first owner enough that it was torn out.


      2. I did like the comment that the fad for minimalist kitchen design was primarily for people who had domestic staff to tidy up the inevitable mess (paraphrasing)
        I also thought for people who don’t themselves cook (catering brought in for parties, and/or dinners), eat out at restaurants.
        So the kitchen is an entertainment space – not a functional work-space.

        I went to an open home a couple of years ago – 2 year-old house – and a ‘feature’ the agent was puffing was that the swanky high-end double ovens had clearly never been used – the interior fittings were still in their plastic wrap.


      3. I would love double wall ovens, but they won’t fit in my small house. Instead, I bought a larger toaster oven (big enough to hold a 9×13 pan). It is even a convection oven.


      4. I have a subzero fridge, the original installed by the flippers who renovated our house from a one story mid range property to a high end view property and wanted the brand name appliances when they sold it. The oven hummed, the cook top fan broke and the refrigerator (with a bottom freezer, which is terrible for our family, and that we replaced). My presumption (maybe wrong) was that they bought it all second hand so they could cite the brands.

        I’m not impressed with the prestige brand kitchen appliances, which I think of as being like a cool sports car (that need high end maintenance, and, maybe, they are right for the right person who cares about things I don’t care about).

        I compare it to a high end camera. I use them, and it is an investment in time and learning and sometimes I get good photos. But, even for me only sometimes do I beat my iPhone, and for most people, the iPhone is going to be better.

        I know someone who loves their double ovens, and they regularly bake bread at home.


      5. I think there are trends that make sense in magazines, but don’t really work long-term.

        I have lived with double ovens, but opted for one large oven in this house. I rarely used the second oven, so it became pot/pan storage. Double ovens are also smaller than normal ovens, which limits the size of turkeys and lasagna pans.

        I recommend induction cooktops, for anyone thinking of changing things in the kitchen. What else? Hmmm. My instant pot is very useful. I use my bread machine frequently, and I do use my electric wok and electric fondue pot.

        The name of the game in fitting out kitchens, though, is decluttering things you never use. It’s kind of the opposite of the Hot New Trend among decorators. Several wedding presents were left behind when we moved–the samovar. The espresso machine. The fryer.

        On trend, though, we did get a beverage fridge. It’s very handy in freeing up space in the normal fridge for storage. People stop moving things around to fit in a 6 pack of beer. I always have chardonnay on hand, cold, for my mother.


      6. bj said, “When we replaced the refrigerator 15+ years ago, I insisted on replacing the panel, but I gave up when we replaced the dishwasher.”

        Yeah, it’s a really wasteful trend, in that major appliances get replaced at very predictable intervals.

        “I also absolutely detest cabinets without handles.”

        That has to increase unsightly wear and tear on cabinets.


      7. Cranberry said,

        “I think there are trends that make sense in magazines, but don’t really work long-term.”

        I get so grossed out by the open shelves that have been so trendy of late. SO DIRTY!

        “My instant pot is very useful. I use my bread machine frequently, and I do use my electric wok and electric fondue pot. The name of the game in fitting out kitchens, though, is decluttering things you never use. It’s kind of the opposite of the Hot New Trend among decorators. Several wedding presents were left behind when we moved–the samovar. The espresso machine. The fryer.”

        I finally parted with a never-used turkey roasting apparatus some years ago.

        Our kitchen would be so much tidier if we didn’t actually do anything there…


  18. I wonder whether people who put in acres of natural marble countertop this decade are experiencing any buyer’s remorse…


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