If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the coronavirus upheaval, it’s the self-anointed experts are continually perplexed by the contagion. Hardly a week goes by without being told something that was previously considered an absolute fact has been “updated” to mean something else.

In the brave new world of COVID-19, face coverings, “social distancing” and stay-at-home mandates has become the new normal because government and health authorities have decided this is the most effective way to combat the disease.

Maybe, but equally important, of the 120,000 deaths attributed to the virus, what is the actual number of cases without including non-COVID health related issues? Substantially less, I imagine, but officials won’t tell us. An inflated number appears more serious than it really is.

Whatever your feelings on the subject, the national economy has been nearly wrecked by shutting down businesses and tossing tens of millions of people into the unemployment lines. Many of them and their employees will not return.

Ever notice these rules are simply handed down at whim, without benefit of being passed into law by the legislative process? Normally, when government makes something mandatory for everyone — seatbelt laws, stop signs, paying taxes — state and federal legislatures discuss and vote upon it. If passed, it is then handed to the governor or president for their final approval. Only then, is it enacted into law.

Otherwise, some government wingnut could wake up one day and decide to issue a proclamation ordering everyone wear luminescent, polka dotted underwear on Wednesdays because society needs a little humor in the middle of the week.

Or, order the closure of churches, schools, sporting events and other normal activities. Shopping at Walmart is fine, but don’t think of attending Sunday school. That’s not essential. Now we’re being told the wearing of face masks is no longer voluntary but required in some communities if we wish to enter a public business or government office. Further evidence these proclamations do not carry the weight of law since not everyone within the state, or even the same county, has to comply.

The face mask controversy is equally wacky considering there is no national standard for face masks or how to wear them. We’re simply ordered to put one on without regard if they actually work. Once attached, we’re advised to never touch the apparatus with our hands or we’ll contaminate it, ourselves and maybe the neighbor down the street.

Kind of makes me wonder how I’m supposed to affix and adjust it on my face without touching it?

Apparently, if a person wishes, they can make their own mask from whatever fabric or dish rags happens to be stuffed in a kitchen drawer. A small cloth square cut from a discarded pillow case with a rubber band stapled to each side is sufficient. Cowboys and bikers tend to be more traditional, using dusty, sweat stained bandannas, while auto mechanics might bungie a NAPA air filter onto their face.

Maybe eBay has a selection of face masks to choose from. Can I get one with an Arizona Cardinal’s or Diamondback’s logo printed upon it? A 97-mph fastball would probably knock a pesky COVID germ into eternity. Much like when Randy Johnson’s blazing pitch collided with a passing dove during a spring training game in 2001. The bird was ruled DOA at home plate.

Then again, in the beginning experts told us masks weren’t necessary. Others disagreed. Guess that depends upon which expert is telling the story — or owns shares of stock in a face mask and hand sanitizer company. According to a recent study by America’s Health Insurance Plans — a trade group for insurers — an average hospitalized patient with COVID costs $30,000. If they’re flown out of the Safford hospital, the costs probably double.

As in a lot of things, follow the money to get a more accurate representation of the story.

Columnist Mike Bibb lives in Safford

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