What did you do when you saw the news that Dr. Anthony Fauci had decided we didn’t need to wear masks if we were fully vaccinated?

If I could’ve jumped, I would’ve jumped for joy.

As soon as I could, I went somewhere without a mask. I’ve hated them from Day 1, mostly because, with my chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, they wouldn’t let me breathe.

I grocery shopped maskless. Nobody got on my case. I went to church maskless, but that’s nothing new because I’ve been sitting by myself and pulling off that mask on several Sundays.

The best thing about getting at least partially free of the mask and the “social distancing” is being able to go to places where friends are gathering.

As a person who went absolutely nowhere for months and months, I’m happy to report I recently had somewhere to go for a whole week.

I’ve been thinking of happy, friendly words to celebrate and, as usual, Merriam-Webster, my favorite word people, have come up with a list of words for fellowship.

That’s what we’ll soon have lots of. Fellowship.

The first word is consociate, which is just like it looks. Being with someone. A root word for companion.

Sodality comes from “sodalist,” which means comrade. All us comrades in arms are joining together.

Then there is conversation, which I’ve always thought of as people talking to each other. But it really does mean having dealings with others. They say this other definition is archaic.

Companionship. Now there’s one I can hang my hat on. And when I think of that, I don’t even have to think of people. Certainly, our pets provide plenty of companionship.

And companionship leads directly to compassionate. That means to harmoniously accompany, and of course that, too, can apply to both two-legged and four-legged friends.

If you sometimes have a need to describe a person with whom you share a meal, that’s a more delicate word than chowhound; the word you need is convive. If you’re drinking, he also may be called a cupmate. I think this is where conviviality comes from, though Merriam-Webster doesn’t say.

I think you can figure out this one, even if it’s in French. It’s “compagnon de Voyage.”

Lastly, comes philia, love of friends or one’s fellow man. Social sympathy.

That’s the one we should all be rooting for now, coming out of years of anger, sadness and sickness.

You may leave on your masks if you choose. That may be a good choice. Probably keep you healthier. One of my doctors plans to keep his for just that reason.

But if you feel as happy as I do, celebrate bare-faced companionship.

Cathy Gillentine is a Daily News columnist. She may be reached at cathy.gillentine@comcast.net.

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(13) comments

Robert Braeking

Masks are useless. Even the N95 mask is useless. If you don't believe me then spray paint with one and see how much paint you breathe. Paint droplets are much larger than viruses.

Bailey Jones

Masks are incredibly useful. It's true that they won't block particles as small as a virus, but they don't need to - viruses don't exist as separate particles, they live in bodily fluids - specifically snot and spit. (That's why they stick a swab up your nose to collect mucus - that's where the virus is.) And a mask doesn't need to block all particles, just slow them down so they don't travel as far.

Here's an experiment for you. Stand a foot from a wall with your can of spray paint - spray it at the wall and note how much paint ends up on the wall. Now cover the nozzle with a mask - even a cheap cotton mask - and spray again, and note how much less paint gets to the wall. (If you also want to test social distancing, stand six feet from the wall and repeat the experiment.)

How much an infectious disease spreads depends on its ability to reproduce. If each infected person infects, on average, more than one other person, the infection will grow and spread throughout the population. If each infected person infects, on average, less than one other person, the infection will die out. This number is known as R-alpha. If R-alpha is > 1, the disease spreads. If R-alpha is < 1, the disease dies out. Masks, and social distancing, and all the other protocols don't need to be perfect. They only need to reduce R-alpha to below 1. This is why masks - which don't block all particles but do stop most - as the paint can experiment above will show - are effective in slowing the spread of COVID.

Robert Braeking

The practice of using the same mask - taking it off - putting it on - taking it off - ad infinitum defeats the whole purpose of the mask. Any droplets that it caught are on the mask and we take the mask off, roll it up with out hands, and put it in our pocket or purse for the next use. My go-to mask, not suitable for work, is inscribed, "this mask is as useless as joe biden". That pretty much sums it up.

Bailey Jones

Sounds like a hygiene problem, Robert. We have strict protocols at my job (or we did have until recently) about how to handle masks, how many times you can wear one, how to store between uses, etc. Obviously if you're going to rub your hands all over an exposed mask and then suck on your fingers your mask won't be as effective as if you only handle it by the straps, and wash it (and your nasty fingers) regularly. It's not the mask's fault if you refuse to use it properly.

Gary Scoggin

Bailey, please refrain from trying to confuse people with science.

Carlos Ponce

That's not science, Gary Scoggin.

Gary Scoggin

From a scientific standpoint, Carlos, what did Bailey say that was inaccurate?

Carlos Ponce

Oh, gee comparing virus droplets to paint spray which are not the same size, for one. The China virus is measured in nm (nanometers) whereas the paint spray is measured in microns. [rolleyes] Very misleading, very NON scientific. That's like comparing the size of a bowling ball to a golf ball. Same size right? Next time you go golfing, try putting a bowling ball. Even if it gets near the hole, it's NOT going in!

Carlos Ponce

Now Dr. Fauci says the masks were just for show. I wish I had posted that but .... I DID, OVER A YEAR AGO!

Paula Flinn

What Dr. Fauci actually said.

“We’ve had practically a non-existent flu season this year merely because people were doing the kinds of public health things that were directed predominantly against COVID-19,” Fauci said.

“So it is conceivable that as we go on, a year or two or more from now, that during certain seasonal periods when you have respiratory-borne viruses like the flu, people might actually elect to wear masks to diminish the likelihood that you’ll spread these respiratory-borne diseases,” Fauci said.

“He also predicted that we won’t see another surge in COVID-19 cases this fall if the majority of Americans get the vaccine.”

Carol Dean

I love that Fauci is starting to be called on the carpet! I only wore a mask at work because it was required. If the truth be known, the whole thing was unConstitutional.

Ted Gillis

We all heard what Dr. Fauci said over a year ago Carlos. We were all here. We all lived it. We all adapted, and thank goodness that most of us all made it through. You don’t have to repost the comment, or re-shout it like you’re doing.

We’re also not sure what your point is, other than displaying how small minded you are ......again.

Carlos Ponce

Ted Gillis is the"small minded" here.

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