The Mask Addicts Are Back On The Offensive

(Photo by Susan Walsh-Pool/Getty Images)

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Some fully vaccinated Americans have continued to cling to their face masks — and some are even directing their displeasure at those who are ready to let them go.

The theories abound as to why, but the fact is undeniable: some people, as The New York Times reported, just aren’t ready to quit the pandemic.

Professional photographer and musician Joe Glickman told the Times that he wore two masks and goggles to shop even after recommendations were relaxed — and he planned to keep that up for at least the next five years.

Retired mail carrier George Jones, 82, said he planned to continue wearing a surgical mask for another year — and 51-year-old retired teacher Leni Cohen said she would mask up when helping out in the classroom. She said that while her own mask was important, she was more concerned with making sure that her kindergarten students wore theirs.

Others suggested that the mask made things simpler — eliminating the need for make-up — and gave them the ability to remain anonymous if they so chose.

Epidemiologist Vanessa Li told The Associated Press in May that she still masked up as a precaution. “I guess I am hesitant to take it off because it’s been such a habit and internationally there’s been different strains and different risk levels,” she said. “Global travel is picking up and it’s still prevalent, so I’m not really sure how at-risk everyone is at the moment.” (RELATED: ‘Clinging To His Mask Like A Security Blanket’: NY Post’s Miranda Devine Faults Biden’s ‘Terrible Job’ Selling COVID-19 Vaccine)

The New York Daily News’ Kate Neumann said that for her, it was about comfort. “I realize, I’ve become comfortable with most of my face hidden. I find a kind of relief behind the masks,” she explained.

Psychotherapist Kathryn Smerling told CBSN that there might be something to that, saying, “There is a way that the mask hides your feelings. It does give you the anonymous quality that often we want and we crave … The mask gives us a sense of security and makes us feel more comfortable. We can be a little bit more private and a little bit more selective in how we want to show our faces.”

And some in the public eye had reached similar conclusions.

MSNBC’s Joy Reid said in late April that, despite being fully vaccinated, she was still wearing two masks when she went for a jog outside.

But Reid didn’t just tout her own double masking — she also invited a physician on her show and asked if it was acceptable for people to question those who continued to do so.

Just two weeks later, Reid’s fellow MSNBC host Rachel Maddow claimed that she needed to “rewire” her brain so that she would no longer see people without face masks as a threat to her personal safety.

“I gonna have to rewire myself so when I see someone out in the world who is not wearing a mask, I don’t instantly think you are a threat,” she said.

Comedian and “Saturday Night Live” cast member Michael Che also said he wasn’t giving up his mask any time soon, arguing that he actually wanted to keep it more after being told by experts that it was no longer necessary.


“I’m going to keep my mask on because I like it. I do like the mask, and I don’t know. Something about telling me I don’t need it anymore automatically makes me want it more than ever for some reason,” Che told the hosts on “The View.”

“The View” cohosts Joy Behar and Sunny Hostin also said they planned to keep their masks, although for slightly different reasons.


Behar said that her plan was to continue to mask up in an effort to prevent the spread of other communicable diseases. “I think it’s interesting — if I go on the subway now, I’m going to wear a mask after this is all over. I haven’t gotten any flus or colds or anything,” she added.

Hostin said that she was ready to go back to socializing as restrictions were lifted, but that she planned to keep abiding by a lot of the recommendations in addition to masks.

“I love people. I love to socialize. I think there are different parameters now. I think we learned the parameters,” she said. “I’m not into shaking hands anymore. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want a lot of kissing on the faces. I want to wear my mask. I want to buy stock in hand sanitizer. Things have changed. Some of those things are kind of for the best.”

And it’s not just an American phenomenon. Alice Perry, Labour councilor and NEC representative for local government, isn’t letting her mask go either.

“Going to keep wearing my mask on public transport. Even when it’s just me on the tube,” she tweeted.