Picture: 123RF/ zimmy tws
Picture: 123RF/ zimmy tws

One of the tragedies of the pandemic is that if everyone had been compelled to wear a mask from the start, we might be talking about it in the past tense.

The world’s economies might, like the people who depend on them, be in recovery. There might be only a few thousand dead. Still too many, but at least not millions.

Blame the World Health Organisation for mixed messaging at the beginning. Blame vanity. Blame fragile — no, toxic — male egos. Blame Donald Trump and his gang of unmasked revengers.

Too late now, of course, the rest of us cry. That genie is, like Mpumalanga premier Refilwe Mtsweni-Tsipane, well and truly out of the bottle and no amount of logic, hand-wringing or science is going to squeeze it back in. Mtsweni-Tsipane, now famously, did not wear a mask at Jackson Mthembu’s funeral.

You would think that simply being at the funeral of a man who died of Covid-related complications would be the only reminder you needed to mask up. But no: the premier claimed she did not know her mask was off. So there.

Not that anyone is buying it, even as she does the usual social media-instigated public woe-is-me backpedal. Because everyone has now seen the video of Deputy President David Mabuza actually miming "put your mask on" at her during the funeral.

A psychologist remarked to me as the first wave ground on that not wearing a mask is a lazy, sloppy way to be a psychopath.

But that’s not what’s happening here. The question here is, when did we stop caring about each other?

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