Livin' on the MDedge

Make America beautiful: Support mask mandates


Make America grave again

Here we go again. Somebody just found something else that the United States is not the best at. To go along with math and science education, infrastructure investment, quality of life …

That’s going to go on for a while, so let’s get to the new stuff. An international group of researchers surveyed end-of-life care in 81 countries and ranked them based on the assessment of 181 experts in those countries. They looked at 13 different factors, including proper management of pain and comfort, having a clean and safe space, being treated kindly, lack of cost barriers to appropriate care, and treatments that address quality of life and don’t just extend life.

… press freedom, industrial production, racial equality, Internet connectivity …


Their report card, published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, gave six countries an A, with Great Britain at the top. The other five were Ireland, Taiwan, Australia, South Korea, and Costa Rica. The lowest grade went to Paraguay in 81st place, with Lebanon, Brazil, Senegal, and Haiti just ahead.

… environmental stewardship, body-mass index, social mobility, COVID safeness …

The United States, getting a firm grasp on mediocrity, ranked 43rd. Here are some countries that did better: North Macedonia (7th), Sri Lanka (16th), Uganda (31st), and Uruguay 33rd). In the United States, “we spend so much money trying to get people to live longer, but we don’t spend enough money in helping people die better,” lead author Eric A. Finkelstein, PhD, said in a written statement.

… economic stability, and soccer; we’re also not the best at dying. Wait, did we already say that?

The face mask that launched a thousand ships

Face masks, clearly, have been a source of social strife during the pandemic. People may not agree on mandates, but a mask can be a pretty-low-maintenance face shield if you don’t feel like putting on make-up or want to cover up some blemishes.

Before the pandemic, people thought that those wearing face masks were less attractive because the masks represented illness or disease, according to Dr. Michael Lewis of Cardiff (Wales) University. Back then, no one really wore masks besides doctors and nurses, so if you saw someone wearing one on the street, you probably wondered what they were trying to hide.


Now, though, the subject of face mask attractiveness has been revisited by Dr. Lewis and his associate, Oliver Hies, who found that face masks now make people more attractive.

“Our study suggests faces are considered most attractive when covered by medical face masks. … At a time when we feel vulnerable, we may find the wearing of medical masks reassuring and so feel more positive towards the wearer,” Dr. Lewis told the Guardian.

He suggested that we’re no longer looking at people wearing a mask as disease riddled, but rather doing their part to protect society. Or maybe we focus more on someone’s eyes when that’s all there is to look at. Or, maybe we wind up making up what the rest of someone’s face looks like to meet our attractiveness criteria.

However you feel about masks, they’re cheaper than plastic surgery. And you can go out wearing a new face every day.


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