It’s just about Christmas time, which means I’ll be heading back to California in short order to enjoy celebrating the coming of Christ with friends and family. Needless to say, I’m very excited to get out of Washington and head west, not least the promise of a sun-soaked green Christmas. However, my excitement was stunted when I heard that California, two years after COVID-19 started to spread in Wuhan, China, has once again enacted a state-wide mask mandate.
The indoor mask mandate for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals alike went into effect Wednesday, and will remain for at least four weeks, until Jan. 15. Likely, it will be renewed and stay much longer. In part, the mandate is to encourage families to not get together, or at least keep their distance, over the holiday season—something I find absolutely despicable.
When California last lifted its mask mandate on June 15, the seven-day average for Covid-19 deaths was 26. Now, that number is 67, which is indeed higher. However, Covid-19 deaths in California have been on a downward trajectory since the middle of September, after a mid-August spike caused the seven-day average of Covid-19 deaths to increase to 132. If California was following the science, as the state and national public health establishment has reassured us for the past two years, then why didn’t California re-implement its mask mandate when deaths were surging?
When Covid-19 cases and deaths began to rise again in California, Newsom had just survived the recall effort by a much larger margin than expected—an unexpected sign of strength from the beleaguered California governor. But, even in a relatively strong position, Newsom’s government refused to put more stringent Covid-19 measures in place because the fact that the recall effort even made it to the ballot box in the first place made it politically unpalatable for Newsom’s government to do so.
Now, the presence of a new variant, omicron, has given the Newsom regime the excuse it needs to force Californians to slap the masks back on. All this, even though three quarters of California’s population over the age of twelve are fully vaccinated from Covid-19, and more than 90% of Californians over twelve have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, which have proven to be effective in preventing severe cases of omicron.
Is this the new normal we were told was coming? An endless cycle of masks and jabs, with no clear indicators of when we can finally say the Covid-19 pandemic is officially over? The pessimist in me says yes, that a lot of this nonsense will be around for the foreseeable future. But, there’s still a shred of optimism in me that thinks there will be a groundswell of families who will break the will of our pandemic overlords if they continue trying to keep us apart during the most sacred time of the year.