The inadvisability of turning Covid-19 masks into fashion statements was on full display this past weekend when Lana Del Rey wore a mesh face mask during a book signing.
“I’m doing a little book signing and we are at the Barnes and Noble in The Grove [shopping mall in Los Angeles],” the singer said in a video posted to her Instagram account.
In the clip Del Rey is wearing a crosshatched, see-through mask that clearly will do nothing to catch droplets and particles coming out of her mouth. She proceeded to meet with numerous fans inside the store and, if the photos are anything to go by, did not keep her distance from them.
Needless to say, the video resulted in Del Rey catching a lot of flak from fellow Instagram users, who called her “dumb,” “stupid” and an “idiot.”
It even led Billboard to contact an infectious disease specialist, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, and ask him for his thoughts on the pop singer’s choice of facial covering.
“I am not very confident that it would prevent any spread of COVID,” Dr Chin-Hong said. “It looks interesting, but you don’t need to be a smart virus to get through that mesh. You could be the dumbest virus and it would be easy to get through that mesh.”
“The holes are so big in the mesh that you might as well be wearing nothing. I can draw a mask on my face with a magic marker and it would have the same efficiency as a mesh mask.”
Which is not to say that Dr Chin-Hong supports “shaming” people for their mask gaffes.
“Shaming is the worst thing you can do,” he said, “because it makes somebody defensive.”
Del Rey was signing copies of her new book of poems, titled Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass. During the event she announced that her new album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club, is due out in December or January.
Her last album, Norman Fucking Rockwell!, was a critical and commercial success, reaching number three on the Billboard 200.