Feeling anxious? Join the club.
People are not just worried about this pandemic, but the next.
Take a look at the National Center for Health Statistics survey of anxiety and depression in this country ( https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/covid19/pulse/mental-health.htm).
In late April about a third of U.S. adults had symptoms of depression and anxiety – 40.2% for those aged 18-29. That’s compared with about 8% a year before. An increase on average of four times.
Recent statistics are moving higher.
How to combat this new Age of Anxiety?
Collaborate (for those who want more individuals ways of coping, please look here: https://regenerationhealthnews.com/sleep/coronavirus-public-health-blog-3-22-20-how-to-not-get-bored-during-quarantine/.
Humans are social animals. This is a pandemic that kills through social activity. Even breathing spreads it. Luckily for us, we help defeat it using our social organization.
Coming together, we win.
In a pandemic, My Health = Your Health: asymptomatic teenage or 20 something goes to a party or bar, infects a caregiver who works in a nursing home. Lots of people die. More get very ill.
How many times has this happened? Too often for us to count. (In this country we mostly lack the infrastructure to even find out.) Too many places like Hong Kong have realized that even careful self-quarantines don’t work.
People who are Covid positive are sent home to isolate for two weeks. They infect their mothers and fathers, sisters, and brothers. The relatives and roommates go to work. The infection spreads.
Our lives start resembling a zombie movie (https://regenerationhealthnews.com/biological-intelligence/pandemic-includes-the-word-panic/).
Yet the issues are bigger. In order to control a global pandemic, you need to control it globally.
Humans travel. We migrate. We drink together. We have sex with each other.
Epidemiologists keep pointing out this virus is so transmissible it will either hit almost everyone on the planet or be controlled through vaccines and public health measures. So whatever vaccines do become available must be given globally. Otherwise, none of us are ultimately safe.
Think if we had a vaccine for AIDS. Would 1.7 million get ill every year?
An effective vaccine for Covid-19 is gratefully a much more likely possibility.
But we can start by taking care of ourselves as groups. Organizations like the Covid-19 Facebook group for Sarasota get people together to work together. Friends and families get people to work together. Many human organizations can help people fight the virus.
A disease that leaves us socially isolated is powerfully combated by social solidarity. People cooperate through social distancing, wearing masks, aiding those in isolation, and many other ways to help keep everybody alive. It’s the kind of irony the virus itself might appreciate (https://regenerationhealthnews.com/sleep/interview-with-the-virus/).
B. Don’t Vote for People Who Help Get You Killed
Lots of people tell me they don’t really care about politics. However, politics cares a lot about you. How you vote will help determine whether you and your family get this virus, or don’t. As it already has.
It is not a surprise that places where people believe their governments are not the enemy but want to help them, like Taiwan, New Zealand, Germany, have done much better than countries that don’t. They are also marked by science and health officials communicating daily with the public about what works and what doesn’t.
Consider this February 25th communication:
“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here.” (https://www.businessinsider.com/kayleigh-mcenany-said-coronavirus-wouldnt-come-to-the-us-2020-4)
A statement of Kayleigh McEnany, then spokesman for the Committee to Re-Elect the President, now White House press secretary.
Dozens of other officials said the same thing that day. It was part of a concerted campaign to tell us everything was fine. Great, in fact.
It was the same day Rachel Chu reported (https://mynorthwest.com/1758762/coronavirus-washington-seattle-flu-study/?) that Covid-19 was slicing through Seattle. She did it after being told repeatedly on and after February 2nd by both FDA and CDC that her studying the virus was illegal. Would cause her to lose her grants, or even go to jail.
Should researchers be threatened with jail trying to study and prevent an epidemic? For telling us it’s growing out of control? Where did that order ultimately come from?
Now let’s take on Florida. In Germany, regions get locked down with more than 7 cases per 100,000 per day (50/100,000 per week). Recently, the new international epidemiologic rule of thumb is that at least major lockdowns of bars, parties, restaurants, gyms, hair salons, schools, churches, and the like must occur when a population sees more than 25/100,000 cases per day.
Florida has been running 50/100,000 on and off for weeks. Our national testing czar Admiral Giroir last week explained that with 70,000 listed cases, the real number of infectees was probably about 200,000, or about three times the “certified” cases.
Governor DeSantis argues that rather than lockdowns, we open up the schools to in-house classes, just as Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has advocated.
Epidemiologists like Michael Osterholm point out that tracing, tracking, isolation, and support work best at less than 2 cases per 100,000 per day (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/aug/04/coronavirus-pandemic-wave-wildfire.) So folks, we only have to get our state numbers down 98% for tracing and tracking to let us go about our lives.
If you don’t control the virus, it will control you. People may not visit a tourist state if they’re quarantined for two weeks upon coming home. If you don’t control the virus, you don’t rebuild the economy.
There’s more. Creating a large, untracked viral reservoir, as we have in Florida, sets us up for more epidemics, especially when the weather cools and aids viral transmission. It allows the virus to propagate and propagate, making it easier to infect others, and mutate further. Some of those mutations will aid its evolutionary survival by helping overcome our immune systems and whatever vaccines we throw at it.
We help control anxiety by taking efficient actions against its cause.
Ask yourself, do I want to live?
Act accordingly. Helping get out the vote for people who don’t get you killed is a good idea.
I had a recent argument with a patient who said that as an “independent thinker” that wearing masks was garbage and besides, “if people die from the virus they go to heaven and that’s a good thing.”
I told her I preferred to postpone my demise.
Do you want your family and friends to live?
There are lots of individual ways to combat Covid’s new Age of Anxiety. Physical activity helps. Routine helps. Getting outside in nature helps.
But a disease that works to socially isolate us is most powerfully defeated through human solidarity.
Time to get together not to spread the virus, but to stop it.