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Bandwagons

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A totally random and unscientific survey on face mask wearing in public indoor spaces (aka shopping malls), conducted by yours truly in recent weeks, estimates that the percentage of people who still wear masks these days at more or less 20 percent.

I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing, but with COVID infections no longer rising dangerously, this is probably what the new normal looks like. Since it is no longer mandatory, face mask wearing quickly became something for the minority. The next time masks will come back in fashion will probably if something drastic happens and we get another spike in infections that could threaten our now-casual attitude towards face masks.

I am someone who is fully vaccinated and boostered yet still prefers to wear masks in public, especially when inside enclosed and air conditioned spaces. I will probably keep wearing masks because aside from being one of those anti-social people who would rather minimize interactions while in public. I’d also prefer to keep that final layer of protection from various airborne infectious diseases, especially when indoors, as most air conditioning systems haven’t seem to be upgraded to increase the percentage of fresh air being circulated, even after it was established that COVID is practically airborne. For me, wearing a mask at malls is probably going to be like wearing a seat belt in cars, at least for the remainder of this year.

If you come to think of it, it’s hard to blame those who would rather not wear masks anymore, especially after almost 3 years of being required to do so, for our own health and safety, during a pandemic. After all, masks are an additional expense, can require more effort to breathe, and if not changed regularly, can be terribly unhygienic.

Choosing to wear a mask is now optional, and for the most part, it is already been proven quite safe to go mostly maskless these days. I don mine when in public, airconditioned spaces, but usually take it off when outdoors. The only other spaces that will make me wear a mask at this point would be a hospital, airconditioned public transportation and terminals, and cinemas. My key words for mask wearing, for now, are basically “public and airconditioned.”

The way things are going, we are almost out of the COVID woods. As long as no new mega strain emerges, we should be able to return to our normal lives soon, if we haven’t yet. However, almost also means not yet, so we will have to exert a bit more effort if we are going to complete this long and arduous pandemic journey. That means still being aware of the necessity of face masks in certain situations, and updating our vaccination shots so we are able to maintain the much-needed herd immunity that we need for our lives to be normal.

*****

The campaign for member-consumers to ratify the Ceneco-MORE Power JVA in a plebiscite, as the agreement has already been signed by the supposed stewards of our poorly performing electric cooperative, is kicking into high gear, with a well-funded pro-side seemingly possessing an overwhelming advantage.

Raising the banner in the campaign to sell off Ceneco is ironically its own management team, ostensibly put there by the member-consumers that in theory own the coop, with the directive of operating it properly and saving it from being gobbled up by private, for-profit interests, it instead of selling it at the first opportunity. They have already made their stand clear by attaching their signatures to the agreement to sell the coop, posthaste.

Even politicians and so-called advocates have also seemingly decided that selling the coop is apparently the most beneficial deal for the cooperative, rejecting other options that would allow member-consumers to retain ownership and control. It is quite difficult to understand why “public” officials and “consumer” groups would hop so easily into the JVA bandwagon that gives away one of the bigger, albeit poorly managed, distribution utilities in the country.

Perhaps Negrenses from the central part of the island are just incompetent and unqualified when it comes to running a distribution utility, making selling out to the first bidder the best option. Note that we aren’t even bidding it out, we are just giving it away to the first group that came along with an offer, which makes this wave of support a bit fishy if you ask me. The rush to go into the deal that is being marketed as one that will benefit the consumers, for the simple reason that current management is so terrible any moron can probably deliver better services, just doesn’t sit well with me.

I fear that we may get some improvements, but the maximum benefit/profit of this rush deal will be probably be enjoyed by those with vested interests.

Those are my reasons for refusing to join the pro-JVA bandwagon.*

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