This editorial first appeared in The Dallas Morning News. Guest editorials don’t necessarily reflect the Denton Record-Chronicle’s opinions.

The nation that put a man on the moon now struggles with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guideline on mask wearing. Pardon the pun, but the advisory isn’t rocket science.

Since the CDC recently loosened mask guidelines, the hand-wringing over when and where to wear a mask has escalated to farcical levels with late-night television comics, serious news reporters and commentators lamenting that we don’t know what to do.

Saturday Night Live recently lampooned the absurdity in a cold open sketch that featured a faux Anthony Fauci noting that “a lot of people had questions, such as what does this mean? … Is this a trap?” It set up a series of ridiculous scenarios that only the willfully dopey would even contemplate.

No, it isn’t a trap, nor does understanding and following the advisory require an advanced degree. If you are vaccinated and with others who are vaccinated, inside or outside, then mask wearing may not be as critical, and you can ditch the covering if you feel comfortable.

And the corollary is pretty self-explanatory, too. If you aren’t vaccinated, with others who aren’t vaccinated or in crowds, then wearing a mask is a good idea. This isn’t a complicated decision tree.

Companies and states have options to relax mask wearing or to ask customers and employees to continue face coverings. That’s not all that difficult to understand or to do, either. No shoes, no shirt, no service is OK. So how difficult is it to adhere to house rules on masks?

If you aren’t ready to unmask, then don’t. People lie on dating websites, job applications and just about everywhere else in society. So we know that some who don’t want to wear a mask undoubtedly will lie about being vaccinated.

Ultimately this comes down to managing risk, to yourself and others. Vaccines have been effective against the virus. If they weren’t, the CDC wouldn’t be revising the mask requirements that have been just about our only effective, pre-vaccine barrier against infection.

Roll up your sleeves, get vaccinated and put this ginned up mask bafflement behind us.

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