Masks and unemployment

Writes Greg Privette:

Hi Lew,

Hope you are enjoying the holiday!

I have read a number of articles lately involving the truth of wearing masks and the high wages of unemployment. It turns out as I had always believed the masks provide very little benefit. Although the negative effects listed in the articles make sense I had not previously considered many of them. I thought I would relate a personal experience. Keep in mind this relates to only one person. As for paying people more to be unemployed than they can make working I don’t think it takes a PHD in economics to understand how that will work out.

For the last several years I have been eating breakfast out on the weekends. I generally eat at the same location of a well-known chain and have been served by the same woman for most of that time. When the “crises” first began they switched to carry out only. Her hours were cut to where she was only able to work two days a week. Much to her credit, she continued to work rather than take the chance to sit at home doing nothing at what would likely be a higher wage. Now they are back to dine in but with more than half the seats blocked off. While she is not back entirely to her normal schedule she is getting back to near full time hours in part by working whatever shifts she can get. For example, on Sundays she used to work 6:00am to about 2:00pm but is now working part of first shift and all of second, 10:00am to 9:00pm. That’s a long time to be on your feet. Even with less than half the seats open she is often very busy because nearly every day someone fails to show up for work. She said one of her coworkers called in four times last week. As you can imagine even though she is remaining generally upbeat, her level of frustration is very high.

Adding to this frustration is the company edict requiring employees to wear a mask at all times. They are all wearing mainly homemade cloth masks which everyone knows provide nearly no protection from anything. What the mask has given her though is a host of issues. She normally has pretty flawless skin but her face is now breaking out due to being covered most of the day and having the mask rub her skin anytime she talks. She told me her mouth and throat are always dry and she now has a minor but constant dry cough, constantly clearing her throat. For the last two weeks she has stayed right on the verge of losing her voice. If she is just talking to me she usually pulls the mask all the way down to get a quick break from it since she knows how I think. I can tell when she pulls it down her lips are also very dry. I am sure these effects are due to the things listed in the articles such as too little oxygen, too much CO2, and so on. The other issue is that with the mask on she is not only getting a dry mouth and throat, but she must nearly shout to be heard and understood. The masks not only muffle what is being said but I believe they also impede normal articulation. When visiting our customers, if we go out on the factory floor I often have to talk loud to be understood due to background noise and everyone wearing ear plugs. Even a fairly short time of this will make my throat a little raw and that is without wearing a mask.

So we have someone who has continued to work even though she would probably be better off financially by sitting at home, who is dealing with the frustration of having to do the work of others who don’t show up, and to reward her for her efforts, her day is made miserable by a mask that makes her job more difficult and is ruining her health in the name of protecting her health. Sounds like a recipe for success to me!