Here’s a secret. We all want this damn pandemic to end. We’re all sick of wearing masks. We’re all sick of the death count. We’re all sick of our lives being put on hold. And we’re all sick of the counterproductive human on human fights when we should be locking virtual arms in a unified battle against our invisible enemy. Nowhere are these fights more absurd than when it comes to mask-wearing. Aside from vaccines, wearing masks affords us the best protection against Covid. And in the grand scheme of things, wearing them is no big deal. But we had idiotic fights about putting masks on. So you can be sure we’re gonna have idiotic fights about taking them off. Meanwhile, sane people are like, “Hey, just let me know when I can safely stop wearing one.”

Like most things, our mask debates are nothing new. As I explain in my book, there were mask resisters back in 1918, too. Some of that resistance was organized, including a group known as the Anti-Mask League of San Francisco (Trump was born just a century too late to find some support in SF). The objections to masks during the Spanish flu pandemic will sound all too familiar to those who are suffering through the coronavirus: the masks were uncomfortable, the masks didn’t work, the mask ordinances were an infringement upon freedoms and civil liberties … The most fantastically bizarre mask trend from 1918 was that, either as protest, or as an act of addiction, some people would cut holes in their mask to smoke. If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a thousand times. The day my lungs aren’t strong enough to smoke through my mask, I’m switching to edibles.

In March 2020, Yascha Mounk wrote that America should “cancel everything.” And shortly thereafter, we did. Now, in The Atlantic Mounk is saying it’s time to Open Everything. He may be right since we have vaccines and other tools to fight Covid, the Omicron spike appears to be abating, and several states are already easing their mask requirements, even in schools. Of course, as a parent, you might feel differently about school mask mandates than teachers, who are inhaling your kids’ germs all day long. And the variant trends we see today could reverse again in the near future. So how about if we go easy on each other as we work our way through this phase of the pandemic? We’ve lost 900,000 of our fellow Americans to this scourge. Our kids have missed key moments of their youth and our parents have spent their twilight years imprisoned. Maybe it’s time to mourn the things we’ve lost instead of continuing to add human decency to that list.