Governor Pritzker recently announced new mitigation measures for Illinois Region 5. These measures include stopping all indoor service at restaurants and bars until the region’s positivity rate is lower.

Some restaurants in Region 5 have expressed their intent to defy these mitigation measures, thus endangering the health and lives of many people in their communities and region. In response to this concerning development, I’ve created a public spreadsheet called Illinois Region 5 Restaurant Mitigation Compliance. This spreadsheet is a volunteer effort to track which restaurants are complying with or defying the mitigation measures.

I’ve decided to change the way that I use social media.

Effective immediately, I’m making several simple but important changes to what I post on social media, where I post it, and how I allow others to respond to my posts. I’ve decided to write a detailed explanation of these changes both for the sake of announcing them to my social media contacts and for the sake of providing ideas and inspiration for anyone else who may be considering a similar shift.

Covidiot. Plague rat. Mask slacker.

These are just a few of the many terms that I’ve seen people on social media use to describe the millions of Americans who reject wearing masks and oppose taking other collective actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a personal level, I understand the appeal of these terms. I’ve used them myself in private and occasionally on social media. People who go out in public and willfully disregard masking and distancing guidelines are placing everyone around them in mortal danger. It’s reasonable for the rest of us to feel outraged by their behavior. It’s important for us to condemn their behavior in some way. It’s also helpful to have specific terms for such people so that we can discuss how to avoid them and curtail their destructive behavior.

However, the growing reliance on these insults in pro-mask discourse concerns me — not because I’m worried about the feelings of “plague rats,” but because I get the distinct impression that many people hurling such insults have failed to identify the underlying source of the problem. And if those of us who support collective action in response to the pandemic fail to identify the source of the problem, we won’t be able to solve it.