MASKS MUZZLES AND INVISIBLE MONSTERS
CinDee Byer, Journalist Award Winner
Monsters and ghosts are
real. They live inside us and sometimes they win ~ Stephen King
Today the monsters are
winning. After all, the invisible ones have us hiding in our houses while
the visible ones wear scary facemasks. I am a person with a real disability, I use a real service dog but current antiviral (COVID-19) state
regulations make it difficult to utilize my service dog in public.
I have found facemasks to
be more than just awkward to use; they are also confusing to dogs. An
effective service dog must be responsive to each command. A facemask makes
it difficult for me to communicate those commands because it muffles my
words and conceals my expressions.
In the past a concealed
face has always signaled a threat. People were taught to fear masked people
and dogs were taught to protect us from them. My Doberman is
characteristically what a working dog should be. She is watchful,
determined, and attentive to my needs. She alerts me to anything that is
Today that something
unusual is a stranger wearing a mask. Thanks to the social distancing “hide
at home” rule and “conceal your identity” regulations, strangers are
everywhere. The current riots are especially troubling to law enforcement
because almost everyone is masked.
I am currently working
through this facemask dilemma with my dog. As I retrain her to accept
strangers wearing masks, I ask myself why? Why should I un-train a trained
dog that alerts and provides protection against strangers? Is a facemask
effective? Extra precautions were needed in the early stage of this
pandemic. People are now educated. The experts have defined what it is we
are dealing with.
It is a virus and
although it is a medical problem it has quickly become a “political
football”. When this happens, it is time for people to do their own
research. If we continue to blindly follow mainstream media rhetoric, we may
find ourselves hiding in our houses for very long time.
Yes, and that is one of
the ways the monsters win. The following are historic pandemics, some still
kill millions of people worldwide each year.
• Measles killed nearly
10,000 over ten years before vaccines finally triumphed in the 1990’s.
• Tuberculosis (TB) is a
global disease, found in every country in the world. It is the leading
infectious cause of death worldwide. Last year, 10 million fell ill from TB
and 1.5 million died.
• The 1918 Spanish flu
epidemic was the deadliest flu season we know of, infecting about one-third
of the world’s population.
• The "Russian Flu"
Epidemic of 1889 took the life of 1 million people.
• During the 1957-58
"Asian Flu" Pandemic Approximately 1.1 million people died worldwide.
• The 1968 “Hong Kong
Flu” Pandemic According to the CDC killed approximately 1 million people
around the world.
• In recent years, the
world has faced various viruses such as Ebola, H5N1, H7N9, Avian flu, and
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), among others.
Oftentimes through such
pandemics, there were no vaccines to stop the spread of the virus. There
were no antiviral medications to help treat it, and no antibiotics to treat
secondary bacterial infections that can come with it.
All that people could do
to contain the spread of these diseases was to wash their hands, avoid
public gatherings and “quarantine the sick.” What is different today?
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Familiarity with viruses should reduce your feelings of being safe.
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