The Masks Are Coming Off
ON JANUARY 26, a day 3,895 people in America died of Covid, The Atlantic published a piece under the headline "The Case Against Masks at School." On January 28, as 3,793 deaths were added to the total, New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg published "Let Kids Take Their Masks Off After the Omicron Surge," citing The Atlantic's anti-mask argument, and NPR put out "After 2 years, growing calls to take masks off children in school."
Also on January 28, National Review's Rich Lowry triumphantly predicted "The Left’s Coming Defeat in the Mask Wars." On January 29—accompanied by 1,347 deaths, as the counting did its usual dip for the weekend—the Times' Ross Douthat hopefully asked "Will the Mask Debate Split Blue States?"
Out of all the possible subjects surrounding the pandemic, how did this self-reinforcing conversation settle on mask removal, so definitively and suddenly? "I can’t imagine advocating an end to school masking right now," wrote none other than Michelle Goldberg, four days before she wrote a column advocating an end to school masking.