Seeking advice: Sarah Palin is now saying people should wear masks. Will her advice make a difference?

sarah palin coronavirus
Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

The coronavirus vaccine has forced us to adapt to a new normal. If people continue to take precautions and wear their masks and get the vaccine when it’s available, perhaps the new normal will revert back to the way things used to be.

Until then, you might have questions about how you’re supposed to live your life in this new world. Hopefully, we can give you the answers.

So, as we do our best Dear Abby and/or Ask Ann Landers impression, let’s answer the query that’s most on your mind.

Q: Considering mask-wearing has become such a political issue these days, do you think the fact Sarah Palin is now saying that we should wear masks to combat COVID will make much of a difference to Republicans who still think face coverings infringe on their rights? I know she used to have sway with the Republican base. I wonder if she still does and if she could convince mask skeptics to change their views.

A: I tend to doubt it. While it’s admirable that the former vice presidential candidate and the former governor of Alaska is now saying people should wear masks, she wasn’t exactly helping the cause beforehand. You might recall that Palin traveled to Dallas in May 2020 to visit the hair salon that had made waves because its owner, Shelley Luther, had refused to follow the county’s stay-at-home requirements and had ignored court orders to close her salon. A maskless and smiling Palin posed with her thumb in the air inside the salon at the time while Luther sat in jail.

But after her own bout with COVID, Palin has shifted her view. “I strongly encourage everyone to use common sense to avoid spreading this and every other virus out there,” she said in a statement. “There are more viruses than there are stars in the sky, meaning we’ll never avoid every source of illness or danger … But please be vigilant, don’t be frightened, and I advise reprioritizing some personal time and resources to ensure as healthy a lifestyle as you can create so when viruses do hit, you have at least some armor to fight it. …Through it all, I view wearing that cumbersome mask indoors in a crowd as not only allowing the newfound luxury of being incognito, but trust it’s better than doing nothing to slow the spread.”

So yes, it’s an endorsement of mask-wearing but a rather tepid one. It probably won’t mean much to those who want nothing to do with masks. It’s actually a little surprising that Palin changed her views or that she bothered espousing them. Most of the Republican politicians who ended up catching the virus didn’t advocate for mask-wearing or social distancing afterward, even if their refusal to follow those practices was the main reason they were infected in the first place. Give points to Palin for changing her mind. But don’t expect her to help change anybody else’s. 

If you missed our last Dear Abby offering, we answered a question about if you should ask the plumber who is servicing your home to wear a mask.

Written by Josh Katzowitz