A Reporter Goes to the Movies Post-COVID, and It May Be the Most Beta Thing I've Ever Seen

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

How bad has ridiculous, unevidenced COVID panic hit some people? A reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle was helpful enough to show us via his own experience. Dan Gentile was given the assignment to go watch Godzilla vs. Kong, and his description of how it went may be the most beta thing I’ve ever seen. It’s also very instructive, as I’ll explain.

Yes, people like this actually exist.

I don’t know Gentile’s age, but judging from his picture, I’d guess he’s no more than 40 years old. He is also not obese (around 80% of COVID hospitalizations have happened to obese individuals). That means he’s in an age and weight range that has an extremely small chance of suffering any real complications from COVID. That doesn’t mean the coronavirus isn’t dangerous, but it does mean the level of danger varies wildly depending on one’s age and condition. Recognizing that reality should allow people to judge their risk, and act accordingly.

Well, I said it should allow that. Instead, Gentile has a “biking mask,” something that is completely pointless and not at all backed by science. Studies have continually shown that outdoor spread of COVID is minimal to non-existent, but it’s especially non-existent when you are sitting on a bike alone, riding down the street.

At least he admits he’s neurotic, so that’s progress, I suppose. Yet, if people are labeling him the “COVID police,” that means he’s spreading his false gospel to others, chastising them for making rational choices. That’s not helpful to anyone.

Gentile proclaims in his article that he’s been surprised to learn movie theaters aren’t super-spreaders.

As someone who follows entertainment news for a living, I’ve been surprised not to hear of any super-spreader events linked to theaters, which would be crippling to an already kneecapped industry. A recent article in The Atlantic calls theaters a gray zone, citing several experts who say since there’s little talking, masks and distancing are effective.

That’s basically been the theme of the pandemic for much of the left – lots of people making lots of assumptions not at all tested or proven in any scientific manner. This is how you get outdoor venues requiring masks or schools being shut down for almost a year in New York, despite experts and real-world data showing spread is simply not a statistical issue in those situations. Meanwhile, state and local governments shoved people in their homes via lockdown orders, despite that being the place where spread is most prevalent.

In short, what Gentile’s article shows is just how irrational the messaging around the coronavirus has been. We’ve known since the first few months of the pandemic where the virus primarily spreads. We’ve had ample real-world data on who it actually is a serious threat to for almost that long. But because fear sells, and panic provides cover for politicians, we haven’t acted in a way that rationally measures risk.

Thus, you get guys wearing “biking masks” and freaking out about going to the movies even as the pandemic is clearly waning. Welcome to America.