For young Americans, normal healthy people, the risk of dying from the coronavirus is still minuscule. For example, a typical 22-year-old in New York has around a 0.6 chance out of a million of dying from the virus. Your odds of drowning in a bathtub or being hit by lightning are significantly higher than that. So it’s a very low risk. And that’s good news, you’d think all of us would be happy to hear it.
Well, the Great Unmasking is finally upon us! But not everyone is happy about it. Suddenly, in neighborhoods littered with signs about BLM and climate change, we have a new public health emergency on our hands – it’s a mental health crisis.
Amazingly, many Americans don’t want to stop wearing masks. They want to continue to hide behind paper. Why? There’s no science behind this. It’s a neurosis, just like obsessive hand-washing. But it appears to be spreading fast, like its own virus.
Just last Thursday, an anchor on “CBS This Morning” admitted that she, too, is suffering from debilitating anxiety at the thought of showing her face in public:
GAYLE KING: Dr Fauci please help us with the mask situation. I know we were told we don’t have to wear it outside but I’m telling you, I was in New York where I live, walking down the street I just stopped a random lady and I said have you been vaccinated and she said yes. I said “Me too. Why are we wearing our masks?” and she goes “I don’t know.” I said me too, ma’am, me too. I think we all feel either guilty or we feel it’s not time. Monkey see monkey do. Do you really think it’s ok?
This is not an isolated phenomenon. CNN just published a piece by a psychologist named John Duffy. Duffy describes his patients’ “anxious nightmares” over going maskless. Some patients, he reported, “feel obsessive or compulsive about mask-wearing and distance, and are concerned that obsession will not simply abate because of the CDC announcement.” The announcement telling them they don’t have to do this.
Duffy added that children are also suffering from the condition. It’s the saddest part. “Some of our youngest kids may not remember a time before we were all wearing masks and remaining far apart. It’s going to take a bit of time for them to emotionally unravel this tangle of anxiety.”
Is there anything sadder than that? Other outlets are noticing the same phenomenon. The New York Times ran a piece on people refusing to get rid of their masks. The story began by focusing on one man, Joe Glickman.
According to the Times, Glickman wears an “N95 mask over his face and tugs a cloth mask on top of it” whenever he goes to the store. He then “pulls on a pair of goggles.” Joe Glickman has been vaccinated.
He’s also had the coronavirus, so he has natural antibodies which are more effective than the vaccine. He still plans to wear his multiple face coverings at least for the next five years.
Now, we’re not mocking him – obviously, our hearts go out to him. The problem is there are a lot of people like him in the country. So what do we do about it?