People wearing surgical face masks.

It’s Truly Weird To See Hospitals Ask Sick People To Stay Home Instead of Enforcing Masks

So here’s a fun reminder: The CDC is still tracking COVID cases in America. Approximately 101,437 people caught it last week, and 1,327 people died of it last week, too. If you really want to hate everyone, the CDC tracks how many of Americans have gotten up the updated vaccine booster—a whopping 16.7 percent! Somehow, I think the Venn diagram of the 12 percent of Americans who are shower-poopers and fully boosted COVID vaccine Americans are two completely separate circles, but I’m really off track, here. This is all to say that COVID isn’t gone; we’ve just normalized it.

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So, with that in mind, I share with you the most head-scratching of hospital policies in Canada, because they’re our neighbors up north, and borders don’t keep viruses out—only Kinder Eggs:

Yes, that’s right, a Hospital is asking sick people to just … stay home instead of going to the hospital?! If you’re confused, given the point of hospitals, you’re not alone. This is an absurd, confusing policy, but I guess its heart thinks it’s in the right place, as the hospital helpfully clarified that they still want sick people to come in to get treatment:

Ah, OK. Sick patients, you can still come in and please mask up—if you have some specific symptoms. Sick visitors and family members, you stay home. Got it. Except, everyone in the entire world thinks they’re the special exception to the rule, and now the hospital isn’t requiring anyone to wear masks except those presenting with obvious symptoms. So who knows?! Seems like a great idea. What could go wrong?!

Also, there’s this pesky thing about virus shedding and being asymptomatic, even for those who would actually take precautions and stay home if they suspected they were sick. You don’t have to know you’re sick to keep spreading the virus, as Dr. Lucky Tran points out:

This whole policy is bananas. You are a hospital for sick people and now you’re allowing just anyone to come through, unmasked, when the virus is still infecting 100k people a week in America. (Just a short plane or car ride away, we’re your neighbors who love to lick doorknobs and hate to keep you safe, Canada!) In Canada, they reported almost 3000 cases today alone! Considering the U.S. population is nearly nine times that of Canada, that’s not really better! How does any of this math make sense, here?!

Granted, Canada has a better vaccination rate (about 80% of the population has completed their primary series of vaccine), but again, while the CDC says vaccine “effectiveness against infection has waned across all age groups,” it’s still better than nothing, and they still “prevent severe illness, hospitalization, and death“—and the vaccination rate isn’t that much better than the U.S. About 70% of the U.S. population finished their primary series, and the numbers for updated boosters are even closer, with Canada at 19% of the population with an updated booster and the U.S. at the previously mentioned 16.7%.

Being sick sucks, and there’s reason to believe that if you’re sick more severely, for a longer period of time, you’re spreading the virus more, even though vaccines don’t prevent infected people from spreading the virus. Plus, there’s long COVID to think about. Is wearing a mask all that inconvenient when faced with the alternative, including the possibility of lingering health problems?

I’ve got nothing. I will continue to wear a mask on a plane and in a healthcare setting because I enjoy not getting sick on the regular, and frankly, I’ve spent enough time in public restrooms to know not nearly enough of you are washing your hands, and yes, I say that as someone who has her second booster shot.

(featured image: william87/Getty Images)

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Image of Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.