Watch the CDC's lackluster attempt at encouraging masking

In the wake of the cursed Centers for Disease Control conference that became a super spreader event, the organization decided it was a good idea to release a new video about masking, which can be described, at best, as a half-hearted attempt to encourage people to mask to avoid spreading COVID—a virus that is, indeed, still circulating, despite how badly folks want to believe or pretend it's over. Make no mistake, COVID is still with us and isn't going away anytime soon. As Dr. Akiko Iwasaki, a professor of immunology at Yale School of Medicine, stated in a recent interview with The Guardian:

I get that people want to move on from the pandemic, but the virus is still out there, people are getting infected, and there's the possibility of developing long COVID. I'm still wearing masks and following preventive practices as much as possible.

It also seems like almost every day I'm reading a new study revealing COVID's negative impact on yet another bodily system or function—it can damage the brain, is possibly linked to speeding up the rate of progression of some cancers, increases risks of developing diabetes, and more.

So in light of all of this, the CDC's new video suggests that if you're immunocompromised, you might want to wear a mask, but it's ok if your friends don't, and its ok if you take it off while you eat indoors, because I guess the virus takes lunch breaks too. Folks—immunocompromised or not (and many point out that we're all potentially one infection away from being immunocompromised)—who care about not catching or spreading COVID have strong feelings about the new ad campaign. One commenter on the longer audio description version of the ad stated:

Why won't Alice wear a mask to help protect her immunocompromised friend and herself from an airborne virus that has the potential to disable or worse?! Awful messaging, CDC.

And participants in a Reddit group I'm a member of called "Zero Covid Community" also had a lot say. The group describes itself:

The ZeroCovidCommunity is a place where people who truly care about reducing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and protecting vulnerable people. We are here to gather and discuss the pandemic and politics, share info, and support each other. If you see something you disagree with, a comment is more productive than a downvote. Welcome!

Here are some of their comments on the new CDC masking video:

  • CDC finally says Wear A Mask, except it's the worst video ever made.
  • Dear god.
  • Is this some kind of joke?
  • I think they are trolling us.
  • This is so egregiously bad that it feels purposeful
  • I have nothing to add to this other than to say I could've made a much better video in iMovie or Canva in half the time this POS prolly took. smh.
  • It's so much worse than the worst video ever made
  • Aside from the quality of the video itself, WHY NOW?! What are they doing over there? I'm just baffled.

As someone who is very COVID-informed and still COVID-cautious—I still wear masks (KN95 or better), am getting another booster next week, use HEPA filters in my home, and more—I have to say I agree with these critiques of the CDC's weak attempt at a public health message about masking. If you're still COVID-cautious and feel like you're alone, please come join Zero Covid Community.