I decline to mask up. No, I don't want to kill you or your grandma or your baby or your spouse. I deeply respect the sanctity of life and wish you only the best. It's just that I can’t find data to justify this particular violation of my health and autonomy. After all, a line has to be drawn to distinguish America from, say, China, where abortions are mandated and social-credit scores determine whether you may travel or where you may shop. For me, not wearing a mask is drawing that line, and doing so is a moral imperative.

Anyone can analyze Covid data from the CDC website to understand my position. While positive cases appear ever increasing, deaths directly attributable to Covid infection remain low. I would support wearing a mask if statistics validated it (though the negative health outcomes of habitual mask-wearing are troubling indeed), but I will not be bullied into doing so for a virus comparable in severity to the flu.

What's worse, this conclusion is drawn from information that is dubious to begin with, given the botched testing and erroneous reporting that goes on. One local example involves several false positives coming out of Luther Memorial Home in Mayville last spring. An “equipment malfunction” caused contact-traced individuals to be unnecessarily quarantined, non-compliance resulting in a $1,500 fine and/or 30 days in jail, as per Mylynn Tufte’s draconian and unconstitutional order. In Florida, it was revealed that dozens of labs had been skewing their reporting in favor of higher positivity rates, undermining the credibility of data that directly influences public policy.

To me and many others, it’s apparent that this virus is dangerous to only a small segment of the population, specifically the elderly and those with comorbidities. It doesn't make sense to destroy livelihoods, deprive children of social and educational opportunities, and foster a climate of paranoia simply to assuage the fears of this minority. Rather, those who are at low risk should keep calm and carry on while the at-risk population protects itself at home.

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