It’s only been a matter of months since Kathy Hochul replaced the disgraced Andrew Cuomo as New York’s governor. Yet she’s already finding herself in hot water—most recently, after a maskless Broadway outing drew social media backlash.
On Sunday, the governor tweeted a photo of her and her husband with 10 other people at a Broadway production. None of them were wearing masks.
Have you heard? #BroadwayisBack! Bill and I had the absolute joy of seeing @SixBroadway Friday night - what's on your Broadway bucket list? pic.twitter.com/DvMHikDUQQ— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) October 24, 2021
This isn’t the first time Hochul has publicly socialized maskless and posted about it on social media. Just a week before the Broadway outing, the governor tweeted photos of her enjoying the Buffalo Bills game at a crowded indoor bar with lots of people, none of whom were wearing masks.
Thanks to New Yorkers getting vaccinated, @BuffaloBills fans can cheer on our team and enjoy Labatt Blue together again! Keep it up, New York! pic.twitter.com/SGnzM8aT6v— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) October 19, 2021
Now, to be clear, there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of this activity. The governor, who has received the COVID-19 vaccine, is an adult capable of making her own risk-assessment decisions. The problem is that Hochul has mandated mask-wearing for children above age 2 in schools and childcare facilities and mandatory mask-wearing for unvaccinated people in public settings where social distancing cannot be maintained. She sent the message publicly that mask-wearing is of such importance we must forcibly cover the faces of three-year-olds, yet privately belies those words with her own actions.
True, she is vaccinated, and data show the approved COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective at reducing the risk of serious illness or death. But vaccinated people can still spread COVID-19. And because of the way COVID-19 mortality risks exponentially increase with age, unvaccinated children are still at far lower risk of death from COVID-19 than a vaccinated 62-year-old like Hochul.
There’s simply no consistent logical framework that justifies forcibly masking young children yet letting elderly New Yorkers hit the bars and crowd Broadway performances maskless.
And Hochul, like other elected officials pushing mandates, claims to be “following the science.” Yet the Centers for Disease Control currently recommends that even the vaccinated “wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission,” for which New York most certainly qualifies.
So much for “following the science,” huh? If Hochul really believed the rhetoric she’s used to justify her mandates, she would be masking indoors like the CDC advises. She isn’t.
To be fair, unlike many other hypocritical politicians, it doesn’t seem that Hochul has directly violated any of her own government’s mandates with her actions. She appears to have at least stayed within the letter of the rules. Yet the governor’s personal, public comfort with maskless socialization despite her advanced age utterly undercuts her rationale for forcing the practice onto others at far less risk. When it comes to masking, individuals and parents should have just as much freedom as politicians to decide for themselves.
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