Covid and Local Churches

The German state of Hesse relaxed restrictions on worship as of May 1, provided that parishioners maintain 5 foot social distancing and hand sanitizer made available. The Evangelical Christian Baptist Church in Frankfurt held in-person services on Sunday, May 10. Church officials said they followed the rules. Thirteen days later on May 23 the BBC reported there were “over 40 cases” of Covid-19 traced to that one church service. By the next day there were numerous media reports (led by the Wall Street Journal) that German authorities had traced “over 100” cases of Covid-19 back to that single church service–and contact tracers were still working on the case. 

This is entirely parallel to the now infamous Skagit Chorale case in Mt. Vernon, Washington, in March where more fifty-two out of sixty participants became infected and two died over several weeks following a socially distanced choir practice. 

Mr. Trump, apparently oblivious to the detailed report of the Skagit Choral case presented on the CDC website, threatened to “override” governors who refused to allow reopening of churches. 

Neither of the state governments of Washington or Idaho loosened regulations on in-person large gatherings in response to Trump’s pandering to his base, but his grandstanding stirred up defiance of regulations on both sides of the border among his far right supporters. Here we have a “leader” stirring up rebellion against legitimate government.

In Spokane the spotlight shown once again on Matt Shea and his prime ally, the Reverend Ken Peters of the Covenant Christian Church (3506 W Princeton Ave in near north Spokane). Peters and his flock held in-person church services without any attempt at social distancing on May 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th in self-righteous open defiance of state health regulations. The Spokesman article from May 24th is worth reading. The cast of characters and the organization are familiar: Ken Peters, pastor at Covenant and leader of “The Church at Planned Parenthood”; Matt Shea (State Rep, LD4), according to Peters “in the audience” and “fighting for the Constitution.” Pastor Gabe Blomgren, another fixture at Covenant, was one of the speakers at Shea’s May 1st stay-home protest. 

Meanwhile, next door in north Idaho, Matt Shea’s right wing ally, ID Rep Heather Scott, was busy holding a crowded meeting in a church in Bonners Ferry three days earlier
Another meeting was advertised for last evening, May 28, at the Priest River Community Church in Priest River, ID, entitled “The Virus that tried to kill our Constitution and What You Can do about it” in open defiance of Idaho health regulations.

Many local churches besides those mentioned in the Spokesman article chose not to hold in-person services on May 24th, in deference to the health of their members, their members families, and the community at large.  The gatherings of unmasked, shoulder-to-shoulder, singing worshipers seem mostly confined to churches allied to certain far right politicians in our region, particularly Matt Shea, whose ties to Ken Peters, Gabe Blomgren, and the Covenant Church were manifest at Shea’s May 1 protest of the stay-home order. Ken Peters’ and his Covenant Church’s open defiance of state Covid-19 public health guidance serves primarily as political nose-thumbing, a denial of the common interest of disease prevention. Ken Peters and his Covenant Church apparently believe that their political/religious faith exempts them from epidemiology.

Will they “get away” with their defiance? They might. but just one unwittingly infected and still asymptomatic, bare-faced, singing parishioner could convert a Covenant Church service into a case study worse than the Skagit Chorale or the Frankfurt Baptist Church. (In both of those outbreaks at least social distancing and hand-washing were practiced,) Should Peter’s and Shea’s and Scott’s risky defiance result in an outbreak, contacts in the wider community would be infected and some eventually die before contact tracers are even aware of the origin of the outbreak.

For the time being the odds are not high of such an event and, sadly, lack of a Covenant Church-associated outbreak of Covid-19 will be cited by Peters, Shea, and Scott as evidence of their political and religious righteousness. No law enforcement challenge of Covenant in-person services will occur, in spite of their whining about violation of their “constitutional rights.” Compliance with public health regulations in these United States is largely dependent on community opinion. 

To that end we all should recognize, separate out, and shun pastors, parishioners, and politicians who flaunt public health regulations. Familiarize yourself with these people, their names and their ideologies. Then thank your church and the churches of your neighbors and friends for sensibly following regulations meant to protect us all. 

Keep to the high ground,

Undermining the Board of Health

On May 1st, a Friday, several hundred protestors led by soon-to-be-former State Rep. Matt Shea marched through Spokane to the County Courthouse. They were protesting Governor Inslee’s stay-home order as “unconstitutional.” Their motto: “Freedom is the Cure.” Spacing was shoulder-to-shoulder, masks were rare and MAGA hats aplenty. Speakers were mostly familiar members of the Matt Shea circle: Gabe Blomgren of Covenant Church; Joey Gibson, founder of the Portland-based, far-right group Patriot Prayer; Caleb Collier, former City of Spokane Valley city councilman; and the Rev. Matthew Cummings, a right-wing pastor associated with the Marble Community Fellowship in Stevens County. 

Buried in that May 2 Spokesman article (linked above) was a photo of a speaker who was otherwise unmentioned in that first article: Jason Kinley, a doctor of naturopathy. Dr. Kinley, speaking to the closely packed crowd at the courthouse, “launched into a minuteslong polemic deriding stay-home orders and widely accepted public health guidelines offered at the state, local and national level.” That was according to the Spokesman’s followup article on May 17th. Speaking without a mask to mostly unmasked protesters, Dr. Kinley expressed doubts about the effectiveness of masks in reducing the spread of Covid-19. 

He told the crowd that there exists “no widely accepted treatment” for viruses. That is false. There are thoroughly tested, proven, and useful drug treatments for AIDS, herpes, and influenza, all diseases caused by viruses. 

His statements in support of the use of hydroxychloroquine and high-dose vitamin C for Covid-19 launched him into the realm of quackery. There is scant evidence, much less a series of double-blind, controlled studies, that supports the efficacy of either treatment. Hydroxychloroquine use in Covid-19 patients is associated with an excess risk of death from cardiac arrhythmia while showing no conclusive benefit. Dr. Kinley has not read, does not comprehend, and/or simply dismisses multiple studies presenting clear evidence. 

Dr. Kinley’s counterfactual presentation of medical science was his to make, except for this: Jason Kinley spoke as a “medical professional” from an appointed position on the Spokane Regional Health District’s Board of Health (SRHD BOH).

The Spokane Regional Health District Board of Health is an intergovernmental group encompassing Spokane County (the territory of the “Regional Health District”). The Board of Health holds a monthly meeting that is open to the public. The mission statement of the Board reads, “As a leader and partner in public health, we protect, improve and promote the health and well-being of all people through evidence-based practices.” Jason Kinley rejected evidence-based practice and directly undermined the mission statement of the Board on which he sits. How did Jason Kinley come to sit on the Board of Health? 

The only members of the twelve member Board of Health with any training in a health profession are Dr. Kinley, with a 2016 degree in naturopathy and Andrea Frostad, with a degree in Dental Hygiene. Both are appointed “members-at-large.”

To meet the Board, click here. Of the twelve members, nine are elected officials from Spokane county, city, and village governments. Three members are “members-at-large.” The Board appoints an Administrator, aka the Director of the Health District, and a District Health Officer, who reports to the Administrator. The District Health Officer, currently Dr. Bob Lutz, is the only person associated with Board who, according to the Bylaws, “shall be a qualified physician trained and experienced in Public Health. 

Each of the three members-at-large sits on the Board as an appointee put forward by one of the three County Commissioners, each from that Commissioner’s District within Spokane County. (map of the districts). Jason Kinley was appointed to the Board by Spokane County Commissioner Josh Kerns. Commissioner Kerns hails from District 1, the northeast part of the County. 

According to Kerns, Jason Kinley was the only applicant for the District 1 member-at-large position that opened up this year with the resignation of Donald Condon, M.D., a local family physician with 40 years experience in medicine. What does having only one applicant say about the advertising of the position and about community awareness and willingness to participate? One must suppose that those paying enough attention to know to apply might have a political agenda. (The Board of Health has been the target of the local and vocal anti-vaccination community for the last several years, a group also with allies in Shea circles.)

While the rest of the citizenry is paying little attention, a small, but growing, group of motivated folk, many of them allied with Matt Shea are organizing, paying attention, and joining local government. 

It is time for the rest of us to pay attention. The Spokane Regional Health District Board of Health holds an electronic meeting tomorrow, Thursday, May 28, at 12:30PM. You can watch the live proceedings at  Visit the SRHD BOH website at Learn about and recognize the members and administrators. This is your city, county, and village collaborative government at work. 

Have an opinion about current goings-on after reading the Spokesman article? Written comment received prior to tomorrow, Thursday, May 28 at 10:00 a.m. will be included in the agenda packet and will become part of the official meeting record. Submit written comments at

Keep to the high ground,

P.S. Bylaws of an organization, any organization, tend to be checked only when a problem or a crisis arises. Then the Bylaws take on significance. The Bylaws of the SRHD BOH can be read here. I am unable to find a specified procedure for removing a member-at-large from the Board. Article III, 3. specifies a four year term for these non-elected members-at-large. It does not specify the details of geographic distribution or details of the appointment process. The Bylaws only state that the three at-large citizen members are “appointed by Board of County Commissioners.” Perhaps that Board has rules governing the at-large BOH appointment procedures. If not, then the District and Commissioner specific appointment process is a matter of custom.

P.P.S. It will be interesting to see what happens when the election and make-up of the Spokane County Commissioners is reorganized by Washington State law in the next year or two (pending the result of a court challenge to the re-organization filed by the Spokane County Commissioners themselves).

P.P.P.S. It takes some sleuthing to figure this out, but the “Regional Health District” of the Spokane “Regional Health District” is, geographically, simply Spokane County. It is one of 34 local public health agencies serving Washington State’s 39 counties. The confusing name is probably meant to avoid suggesting that the governance is purely through the three Spokane County Commissioners, when, in fact, the Board is made up of elected officials from cities and towns within the County in addition to the County Commissioners.

P.P.P.P.S It turns out there are a number of Boards in Spokane County that are formed by an amalgam of elected officials from various local governments. The Spokane Transit Authority, which I wrote about, is a governing board of similar (but different) composition to the SRHD BOH. More of your government at work–mostly unnoticed by the citizenry.

Local Far Right on Display

The names on this poster are a who’s who of far right in the Inland Northwest. When I was young my mother often warned me, “You will be judged by the company you keep.” I’m not sure that is entirely just, but I think it behooves voters to be aware of the company that candidates and office-holders keep. 

Soon-to-be former WA State Representative Matt Shea (LD4, Spokane Valley and points north and east) is near top billing, as is ID State Representative Heather Scott (LD1A, Canadian border to south of Sandpoint). Once a person has attained a government position, it offers the person an aura of legitimacy. (We see this in another Shea acolyte, Jason Kinley, a naturopathic physician recently appointed to the Spokane Regional Health District’s Board of Health, who spouted fringe medical ideas at the May 1 Shea-promoted stay-home protest.) 

Take note of the name Rob Chase, former Treasurer of Spokane County and recently declared candidate in the shuffle for one the LD4 Representative seats in Washington State. What is he doing speaking at a “Liberate America” gathering in North Idaho? Chase is also on record as “seeing nothing wrong” with Shea’s “Biblical Basis for War” document. Chase is a frequent attendee at Greenbluff’s Northwest Grassroots gatherings, infamous for hosting James Allsup. Allsup is the young eastern Washingtonian white supremacist whose contorted face appeared among the marchers at Charlottesville. Among “birds of a feather” Chase’s plumage is clear.

The updated “Guest Speaker” listing above (found on Redoubt News), rightly gives Ammon Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy of Bundyville, Nevada, top billing. Ammon, with his father, was pivotal in the armed standoff at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada in 2014. Ammon gained further notoriety leading the deadly occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016. LeVoy Finicum achieved what these people characterize as martyrdom in that incident (Finicum was shot dead after pulling a gun on state troopers). Both Matt Shea and Heather Scott traveled to the Malheur occupation in solidarity, perhaps in the hope the occupation might be the right spark to touch off the national conflict they stoke. Ammon Bundy apparently recognized friends and fertile ground for his ideas. He now resides in Emmet, Idaho, from which he peddles his ideas in the Inland Northwest.

Joey Gibson is founder of “Patriot Prayer,” a small group notable for violent clashes in demonstrations in Portland OR. Patriot Prayer attracts white supremacists and the alt-right, including the “Proud Boys.” The “Proud Boys” recently made local news for vandalizing a memorial display for Covid-19 victims at Spokane City Hall. Joey Gibson demonstrated his lack of broad-based electoral appeal in WA State in 2018 by running against WA State’s U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell. He garnered 2.3% of the vote. Even so, he carries on as a political agitator, as this “Liberate America” billing shows.

John Jacob Schmidt (the alias of Jack Robertson) spreads the word by hosting a weekly podcast on Radio Free Redoubt. 

Rene Holladay, aka “Lady Liberty” of the theocratic Liberty State movement (and former Shea aide), is also the author of a book, “The Perils of Sustainable Development.” 

Tom Deweese, new to me with this poster, is a national figure, founder of the right wing 501(c)(4), the American Policy Center, and prominent promoter of conspiracy theories around Agenda 21.  Agenda 21 is a non-binding UN resolution around sustainability alleged to be “the linchpin in a plot to subjugate humanity under an eco-totalitarian regime.”

Pastor Afshin Yaghtin leads the small fundamentalist and activist New Covenant Baptist Church at 5109 N Adams St in Spokane. He is a close ally of Pastor Ken Peters of the Covenant Church at 3506 W Princeton Ave, Spokane, where Matt Shea sometimes preaches and holds forth as a supposed persecuted patriot. Both pastors and Matt Shea have been involved in “The Church at Planned Parenthood,” yet another idealogical means of rallying political support.

Ingri Cassel and Jaclyn Gallion are active local leaders in the anti-vaccination movement. 

Pay attention. These people are not benign, to which Matt Shea is testament. They aim to be elected or appointed to public office and thus gain influence and a whiff of legitimacy. Knowing their backgrounds and associations is key to knowing where they would like to take us–and I, for one, don’t want to go there. 

What does it mean when every one of the folks listed as a Guest Speaker for “Liberate America” is part of a known subculture laced with 1) white supremacy, 2) armed intimidation and rebellion, 3) the theocratic Liberty State, 4) the anti-vaccination movement, or 5) weird conspiracy theories around non-binding United Nations resolutions, Covid-19, and sustainable development?  

Follow the links to familiarize yourself with these people. You will be rewarded by recognizing their associations each time you see their names in print. It’s a useful exercise. 

Keep to the high ground,

P.S. The Economist (rated “least biased” by on May 17th published an article that puts some of what the Kootenai Fairgrounds’ “Liberate America” likely represents into a national perspective:  “America’s far right is energised by covid-19 lockdowns” It is an interesting read–and there is no paywall for this article. The Inland Northwest has long been a center for some of these movements.

Covid and the Culture Factor

Thanks to the work of epidemiologists the world over we know how not to spread this virus, or, better said, those who are paying attention know how not to spread this virus. This is a virus spread primarily by respiratory means, mostly respiration in relatively closed spaces. All the studied case clusters here and abroad have two ingredients: an enclosed space, a bus, a room, a restaurant, AND the addition of one individual who does not know (yet, at least) that they are infected and shedding virus with every breath, shout, song, cough, or sneeze. In those cases the spread is, well, viral, and each newly infected individual goes out and potentially spreads the disease in wavelets. 

Six foot social distancing is only a useful for being easy to remember. There is no magical barrier at the six foot limit, especially indoors. I highly recommend the following two articles (the first of which I highlighted last week) to inform your understanding of what we know of the transmission of this disease:

From a Dr. Erin Bromage, professor of biology at UMass:

Here’s Dr. Bromage in a 7 minute video:

From Dr. Atul Gawande, renowned physician and communicator, based in the hospital system in which I trained:

For my part, sadly, it is going to be a long time before I am comfortable sitting in an indoor restaurant or, even more sadly, attending any sort of energetic dance venue (indoor or out), or exercising with others in a gym, or traveling in a commercial airplane. Masks in those situations would help but they’re problematic, either practically (eating) or aesthetically (dancing). Obviously, all this gets more risky next fall when we try to come back indoors. 

The culture factor is paramount. Our abysmal, science-and-reality-denying national leadership, with its encouragement of protests against Democratic governors in swing states, is making mask-wearing yet another badge of partisan division, when that leadership should be touting mask-wearing as a patriotic duty, a public health courtesy, and a nod to the reality that we’re all in this together. National guidance is blocked (from the CDC) or misused for partisan advantage. That leadership failure is already killing us on a per capita basis [the bold is mine]:

Australia, China, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and Taiwan, among others, all have kept deaths below 10 per million population, compared with 271 per million in the United States.

The contrast of the culture fostered by the man in the White House compared that of more successful countries is pointedly detailed in this three and a half minute video [worth your time to watch and share]:

Instead of uniting us against the risks, uniting us in our universal desire to get back to some semblance of normal life with honest, scientifically based guidance and preparation we find ourselves in a culture with people who flaunt their “liberty” to put us all at risk. 

Ironically, as long as enough of us are careful enough, the odds of an asymptomatic virus-spreader appearing at and infecting a church full of people in, say, Stevens County, will be small, and the attendees will increasingly be convinced of the rectitude of their resistance to any call for unity. It is a  paradox that will only resolve as travel restrictions ease and people become more lax. The culture that flaunts bare faces and heedless attendance at large indoor social gatherings will eventually spread the virus. The only question is when. If it is going to happen we can hope it does so before the late fall.

Keep to the high ground,

Candidate Gamesmanship, WA State

Last Friday afternoon, May 15 at 4PM, online “candidate filing” closed at the Spokane County Elections Office. Within the following hour a link appeared, Spokane County Candidates Who Have Filed, revealing the names of those eastern Washington candidates running on Spokane County election ballots in the Primary on August 4. There were several surprises, the most startling of which occurred in Washington State Legislative District 4, the area east of the City of Spokane to the Idaho border and north to Mt. Spokane. (See map.)

LD4’s incumbent state legislators are Mike Padden (State Senator), Bob McCaslin (State Rep, Position 2, also known as “McCaslin Junior” to distinguish him from his late father, also an LD4 Rep [see P.S. below]), and the infamous Matt Shea (State Rep, Position 1 [as Senior Representative from the district]).

In a move that surprised many, Matt Shea did not file for election to a 7th term. He had been defiant in the face of growing and nationally circulating evidence of his ties to white supremacy, advocacy for a theocratic “Liberty State,” his and his followers’ preparations for a “Biblical War,” his preaching and association with the Covenant Church and the Marble Community Fellowship, and his involvement with Ammon Bundy and the Malheur Wildlife Refuge standoff. Lately he has been featured leading protest marches in Spokane with assault-weapons-armed folk shoulder-to-shoulder, without face masks, protesting the Covid-19 rules. Shea made news recently when the State presented him with a bill for $4700 for cleanup of the steps at the capitol in Olympia after he and shofar-blowing protesters poured olive oil there. They were performing an “invocation,” summoning their deity to purify the State House in the wake of a peaceful demonstration by the Seattle-based Satanic Temple of Washington.

Instead of filing for LD4, Shea signed up for an unopposed position as the Republican Precinct Officer for PCT 4438 in the southeast corner of the City of Spokane Valley (See map). He is not going to disappear from the scene. Matt Shea will be around giving fiery sermons, leading armed protestors, and plotting his military theocracy. What happens to the money in his campaign kitty bears watching. 

BUT, Shea won’t be in the WA State legislature (as a legislator), at least not for the next two years…

However, Shea’s acolyte and supporter, McCaslin Junior, did file for re-election, but here’s where the gamesmanship appeared: McCaslin Junior waited until 3:47:00PM on Friday to file and then filed not for the Representative position he had held, Position 2, but for Position 1, the seat Shea had occupied.

Political games: Incumbent WA State representatives, if they strategically wait until the last moment, might get to chose their challenger instead of their challenger choosing them. Lori Feagan, a respected Spokane Valley nurse practitioner, filed on Monday, May 11, to run against incumbent Matt Shea and Shea’s declared Republican challenger, Leonard Christian for Position 1. Due to Friday’s political shennanigans, Lori Feagan isn’t running against either Shea or Christian.

Follow the shell game. Ms. Feagan signed up for Position 1 against Shea for on May 11. The same day, Leonard Christian also filed to run against Shea for Position 1. As we come down to the wire at 4PM May 15 there is no sign of Shea at the electronic filing counter. With 13 minutes left, McCaslin Junior cancels his Position 2 filing (the incumbent seat he holds) and files instead for Position 1 against Ms. Feagan. Meanwhile, Leonard Christian swoops in, literally, at the last minute, 3:59:00PM on May 15th, to jump away from opposing McCaslin in Position 1, to opposing Lance Gurel, an accountant who recently ran for City of Spokane Valley City Council, for Position 2. Meanwhile, Rob Chase (right wing Republican, frequent flyer at Northwest Grassroots, and former Spokane County Treasurer), without any announcement of which I was aware, also throws his hat in the ring for Position 2 with 16 minutes, 42 seconds to spare. (I extracted this drama from the County website data you can see here.)

Is your head spinning yet? No wonder a lot of people who get elected have degrees in political science or cozy up to a Party apparatus. 

Final line-up for the LD4 Representatives in the August Primary (omitting candidates with no campaign funds and no name recognition):

Position 1:
Lori Feagan (D)  
McCaslin Junior (R)
and 2 others with little name recognition and no funding reported to the PDC:
Mike Conrad (R)
Dave Whitehead (R)

Position 2:
Lance Gurel (D)
Leonard Christian (R)
Rob Chase (R)
and 2 others with little name recognition and no funding reported to the PDC:
Will DeWitt (Prefers D)
Nathan R Sybrandy (R)

A couple of fine points: If only two file for a position they don’t appear on the Primary ballot. Instead, they advance to the General Election in November automatically. In LD3, for instance, everyone (two candidates for each position) gets a pass to the November General Election. In Washington State elections claiming a preference for one party or another does not require that party to vet or endorse or even recognize the candidate declaring the preference. “Prefers” means only what it says.

For me the gamesmanship on display last Friday in LD4 was an eye-opener. One wonders if all that shifting was coordinated or gamed purely by the individuals. 

One final note: LD4 became even more interesting when, at 3:55:27PM on Friday, John Roskelley threw his hat in the ring to oppose Mike Padden for LD4 State Senator. There is also a “Prefers Independent” candidate, Ann Marie Danimus, so this race will be on the Primary ballot. John Roskelley is a former Spokane County Commissioner, a man of integrity with name recognition as a world class mountaineer. His candidacy in LD4 should make things interesting.

Keep to the high ground,

P.S. Never forget that Bob McCaslin, Sr. said, “I wish to state that under no circumstances would I support Matthew Shea for any public office.”  in 2011 before he died. In contrast, Bob McCaslin, Jr., (McCaslin Junior) the current LD4 Rep, is an acolyte of Shea’s, while he continues to ride on his father’s name.

Covid-19 Re-opening Reality

Wear a Mask? Don’t Wear a mask? Is six feet perfect protection? What are my risks? What’s the science to base all this on? We learn best from stories, and this “shoe-leather” epidemiology is a series of well researched, memorable stories of observed events to read, remember, internalize, and use as a guide.

A contra dance friend posted the link on Facebook with these words:

No flashy pictures, nothing humorous, no teasing headlines, just a tremendous amount of fact biased, good scientific information about the virus, its spread, hot spots and the hazard of indoor environments outside of your sequestered household. Written by  a Comparative Immunologist and Professor of Biology (specializing in Immunology) at [UMass] Dartmouth [MA].” 

The following is hands down the best summary article I’ve seen on how Covid-19 spreads, the best guide to what to avoid and what may be less important. Here’s the title:

The Risks – Know Them – Avoid Them

Here’s the link:

Key concepts:

This virus (like the flu) is (mostly) a respiratory pathogen.

Transmission depends on proximity, length of exposure, ventilation, and the activity one is engaged in. The article offers memorable and specific examples.

Be wary of lengthy exposure to others in indoor environments. The worst spreading events happen from people who don’t yet know they’re infected. You’d best assume that anyone with whom you spend time could be spreading virus and not know it.

Keep to the high ground,

P.S. Remember back in February and March when our federal government was telling us to socially distance, wash our hands, and compulsively clean surfaces? That wasn’t bad advice, but it came with the puzzling reassurance that you did not need to rush out and buy a mask. That seemed peculiar to me at the time. Why? SARS and MERS, both coronavirus-caused diseases, are respiratory pathogens. Influenza is a respiratory pathogen. In all those countries in east Asia everyone was wearing a mask already, as were travelers from east Asia. Why was our government so smugly suggesting masks weren’t necessary? Hmmm. The Trump administration, having downplayed the threat and ignored offers of domestic N-95 mask production (in their confidence that the “free market” is always the answer) was caught unprepared for the demand for masks from healthcare workers. We, the citizens, were told mask weren’t necessary to avoid a shortage, even though the risk was pretty clear even then. In other words, our own bumbling federal leadership lied to us.