Hey, Seattle, what happened to listening to science?

Throughout this pandemic, I have been thankful to live in Seattle, where many people chose to listen to science and follow recommendations of the infectious-disease experts. On a daily basis I find myself wondering what happened to make people in Seattle stop listening to the experts? Specifically, wearing a mask outside, alone, in an uncrowded area. I am not anti-mask. Advice from the experts, as well as common sense, make it clear, masks indoors and in crowded outdoor spaces are necessary to slow the spread of infection. The same expert scientists have been clear about the fact masks are not necessary when outside in an uncrowded space. Because transmission of infection is very unlikely to occur outside, even with highly contagious variants such as omicron.

If you’re thinking, why do you care if I wear a mask, if it makes me feel protected and more at ease? I’ll tell you why I care. Normalcy is incredibly important and hard to come by, two years into this pandemic. A sense of normalcy increases feelings of well-being. One of the very few places we get to feel a sense of normalcy is outside. When you wear a mask outside, by yourself, with nobody around, you are unnecessarily taking away that sense of normalcy.

Jill Irvine, Seattle