Idiot store manager threatens to call cops on a autistic 19-year for not wearing a mask.

Suburban Chicago Mariano’s ugly scene. Can’t we all just get along?

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker wants to ‘remove certain mask mandates’ in time for the holidays. Nuts to you, sir.  (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

It’s obvious to anyone with a lick of common sense that enforcement of mask mandates have exceeded what’s reasonable. It is politically motivated corruption of science.

The latest example comes to us from an ugly scene at the Mariano’s food store in Glenview, Illinois. It happened to Michelle Zernik of Northbrook, Ill. and her 19-year-old autistic son, Ethan.

She was in the checkout line, wearing a mask but Ethan, because of his autism, was not. That’s because people with autism have special needs that the mask inhibits. According to Harvard Medical School:

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many new challenges for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Features of ASD, including impaired social and communication skills, repetitive behaviors, insistence on sameness, and especially sensory intolerances, make adapting to wearing face masks and the experience of a COVID-19 test particularly challenging.

Nobody said anything about the maskless Ethan until the store manager came over and began excoriating Ms. Zernik:

[He began] yelling at our son that he had to leave because he wasn’t masked.  I explained that my son was vaccinated and had a speech communication disorder. I was vaccinated too,

I explained calmly that he can’t leave, yet. So the manager says, “Then I’ll have to call the police.”

I said, ‘Go ahead, he’s vaccinated.’

‘The vaccination doesn’t matter,’ he said. For the second time he said he’d call the police. Again, I told him to go ahead.

Called his bluff she did; he retreated back to whatever it was he was doing, or maybe finding someone else to harass. “The lady in front of me turned around and told me that she was sorry that I had to go through that.”

Zernik’s personal, anecdotal experience with Ethan echoed the Harvard summary. In an email to friends she was asking for information about Wisconsin, wondering if Ethan would be better off there.

The mask all day long is causing his language to regress. I worry that the restrictions here will not go away anytime soon. He does quite well when we visit Florida and he can practice fully interacting with the public. Social communication and community integration is so important for him and his progress. I thought we would be beyond the masks by now in Illinois. Our whole family is vaccinated. He really needs a diverse and interesting day (recreation, social opportunities, inclusion, job). We just can’t piece that together here in Illinois any longer. 

The pandemic have been especially hard on autistic minors and people with significant disabilities. The pandemic restrictions and staffing shortages have cut deeply into special needs programs.

“He was wearing a mask all day. Little by little, with no school, his articulation went away,” she said. As his ability to communicate declined, some behavioral problems set in. She pulled him out of programs that required masks because it was hurting him, not protecting him.

Cruelly, her and Ethan’s pain will be brushed aside by the woke as “unscientific” and “anecdotal.” She laments that the broad brush, everyone-must-still-mask-up-approach nonsensically makes no exceptions for those who are harmed. “If we can’t apply commons sense to date like his, is there any hope?”

So well said. We’re all martyrs to lunatic control freaks who have no inkling of the scientific method. People like Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker. So for them, here’s a dose of real science. Get a taste of what the true scientific method, of the uncertainties and tests for validity. It comes from Lisa M Brosseau, ScD; Angela Ulrich, PhD, MPH; Kevin Escandón, MD; Cory Anderson, MPH; and Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH. It concludes:

It’s time to get real (scientific) about masks

It is time to lower the unrealistic expectations about masks—or any single intervention. Public health messaging needs to be focused on many interventions, starting with those at the top of the hierarchy. Masks offer very limited source control and personal protection and should not be considered a replacement for vaccination or equivalent to interventions such as limiting time and the number of people in a shared space or improving air movement.

Scientists must return to the time-honored practice of waiting for peer review before touting their study findings. No single study, regardless of the number of subjects, deserves to skip that important step in the process of building a body of evidence.

We urge journalists to not be taken in by scientists’ claims for their non–peer-reviewed studies, even if those scientists hail from highly reputable institutions. Rather, we urge journalists and news outlets to question closely why scientists find it necessary to advertise their study ahead of peer review.

We are well past the emergency phase of this pandemic, and it should be well-known by now that wearing cloth face coverings or surgical masks, universal or otherwise, has a very minor role to play in preventing person-to-person transmission. It is time to stop overselling their efficacy and unrealistic expectations about their ability to end the pandemic.

The disregard for the truth, the absence of compassion, the blindness to the misery that has been ignored puts me in mind of Dr. Martin Luther King’s moving and hopeful “How long? Not long” speech.

How long must we tolerate this willful ignorance and moronic do-as-I-say-or-else governance and climate that robs us of our freedom? “How long? Not long,” King said, because “no lie can live forever.”

Related: Mariano’s parent company rules for masks are here. Bum rule, if you ask me.

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Tags: Covid masks


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  • what happened to the ADA? we have done so much to make life livable for those with disabilities but we can't figure out how to do it this time? I've seen the obits about those who have died with and from covid, how many were young austics? they don't seem to be a group we should be punishing like this

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