Opinion | You can’t go maskless on the day you make a recommendation to wear masks outdoors and expect people to take you seriously

On Friday, September 3rd, MoreThanTheCurve.com reported on the latest recommendation from Montgomery County connected to COVID-19. The new recommendation is that everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, wear masks outdoors when not able to social distance or with those who are not part of their household. The recommendation goes into effect starting September 6th (which is today).

In the announcement about the recommendation, the county cites that September 3rd, the day the recommendation was made, marks a two-week period that the county has experienced a high level of COVID-19 community transmission according to the state’s data.

The county’s recommendation, in some aspects, is actually more stringent than the recommendation of the CDC, which is referenced in the county’s announcement.

Here are the two relevant paragraphs:

In areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases, the CDC recommends wearing a mask in crowded outdoor settings and for activities with close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

Montgomery County OPH recommends wearing a mask outdoors, regardless of vaccination status during high level of COVID-19 community transmission. Specifically, this means wearing a mask when outdoors if you cannot stay at least 6 feet apart from people who do not live in your household.

As you can see, the CDC recommendation references masking and distance when among people who are not fully vaccinated. The county’s recommendation stresses social distancing and masking when among anyone who isn’t part of your household. The county didn’t offer a caveat about vaccination status.

Pictured above are Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Val Arkoosh (just behind the governor) and County Commissioner Ken Lawrence (just behind Dr. Arkoosh) not wearing masks on the day they made this recommendation.

As you can see, Dr. Arksosh actually has a mask around her wrist that she is choosing to not wear while not social distancing and surrounded by people who are not in her household.

You can’t make this type of recommendation (that is tougher than the CDC’s) and then on the same day go out in public maskless on a tour with the governor that the press was invited to attend and expect to be taken seriously. They knew they would be captured in photos and video.

Getting her face on the news while running for Senate is apparently more important to Dr. Arkoosh than showing she can follow her own recommendation and set an example.

And do not start arguing in the comments that the recommendation is to start on September 6th. The recommendation was attributed to the data regarding the high rate of community transmission that the county is already in. That has existed for two weeks. The date is irrelevant.

And don’t come at me saying, “it is easy to forget sometimes to wear a mask.” There were at least two people among the group making the tour with the governor who wore masks (at least when this photo was taken). Throughout the pandemic, seeing people wearing masks always triggers me to either put one on when I forgot or consider wearing one.

And don’t start saying I am an anti-masker Trumper. I have worn a mask every time I have been required (and sometimes when I am not) and got vaccinated.

If you are supportive of masking as a mitigation effort, you should be dismayed that those we have entrusted to make these types of recommendations are so unmindful of how they present themselves to the public (especially on the day they make such a recommendation).

The two majority commissioners even put themselves in the position of being effectively criticized by the lone Republican county commissioner, Commissioner Joe Gale, and all those who are adamantly against maskings. That is just embarrassing for Dr. Arkoosh and Lawrence and further hurts mitigation efforts. And don’t come at us telling us we are shilling for Gale, who we once suggested should resign.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Photos: Montgomery County (Burb Media added red circles).