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Do you think fear of coronavirus is making people do crazy things? I do.

I’ve had some very interesting interactions on the streets in New York City over the past few weeks.

I have been aggressively approached and yelled at by a burly man in his mid-40’s.

I was eyes-popping-out-of-her-head screamed at by a young woman, at the top of her lungs, while I was jogging along the east river with my dog.

And, most recently, both my husband and I were called “murderers” by an older woman that was walking along Fifth Avenue about 10 feet (or more) ahead of us. She literally stopped walking to loudly call us murderers so everyone in our immediate proximity could hear and see who the murderers were.

Why is strange behavior happening?

FEAR.

When people are driven by fear they say and do things that are not rational or well thought out. They become reactive, and over-reactive especially if the fear persists without any relief to the nervous system and the brain.

So how did I become the object of this fear, hatred, and vitriol?

  • I do NOT wear a medical facemask when I’m out walking in public.
  • I do NOT wear a facemask to walk and/or exercise with my dog in the park.
  • I do NOT wear a facemask when I am driving in my car (I’ve actually seen people on the highway alone in their car wearing facemasks).
  • I do NOT wear a facemask to get my mail from the mailbox.

And, there is a reason for it.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “If you do not have any respiratory symptoms, such as fever, cough, or runny nose, you do not need to wear a medical mask.”

They advise that if you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with Covid-19. They also warn that wearing a mask improperly and using it over and over again, and not disposing of it can cause respiratory infections in the person wearing it.[1]

Watch this video from the WHO detailing this very important information that could save your life: When and How to Wear Medical Masks

The US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, wants people to stop buying facemasks to prevent the coronavirus, and warns that you actually might increase your risk of infection if the facemask is not worn properly.[2]

Deputy Chief Medical Officer in England, Jenny Harries, warns that members of the public could be putting themselves at higher risk to contract coronavirus by wearing facemasks. She said, “the masks could actually trap the virus and cause the person wearing it to breathe it in.”[3]

And, the esteemed New England Journal of Medicine says, “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”

Below is one of many infographics that have been created to help people understand this vital information about facemasks and this virus.

I contracted Covid-19.

I did NOT wear a facemask when I was supposed to.

I was exposed to the virus for a prolonged period of time while caring for my husband after he got infected with the virus (from where we don’t know).

When I was caring for him, that was the time that I SHOULD have worn a facemask (and he too).

But, I did not.

And, I suffered from all of the symptoms. I covered that in this video: We were diagnosed with Covid-19.

My body felt the damaging effects of this strange new virus that acts like the flu combined with a cold and has lingering symptoms that can last for weeks.

Since that time, both my husband and I recovered from Covid-19, have no symptoms, plus we have the antibodies.

I have also listened to the doctors and epidemiologists, and understand that this virus is now considered to be endemic.

That means it’s probably never going away.

It’s going to be a part of our lives for many years to come.

According to an article in the Washington Post, “There are already four endemic coronaviruses that circulate continuously, causing the common cold. And many experts think this virus (Covid-19) will become the fifth — its effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time.”[4]

The key line to take away and read over and over again is, “it’s effects growing milder as immunity spreads and our bodies adapt to it over time.”

I know that people are anxious and afraid. I’m not angry at any of those people that aggressively yelled at me in the street.

I know the news is confusing the heck out of most folks and they will say and do crazy things out of the compounding fear they are experiencing.

I also want to be clear that I am NOT saying this virus is something to scoff at or take lightly.

It certainly can be lethal, especially for the elderly and for those people with underlying conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.[5]

It is a deadly virus.

As is the flu.[6]

“Influenza remains one of the world’s greatest public health challenges. Every year across the globe, there are an estimated 1 billion cases, of which 3 to 5 million are severe cases, resulting in 290 000 to 650 000 influenza-related respiratory deaths.”[7]

BUT, no one is being called a murderer during flu season for walking around without wearing a mask.

If this new virus is endemic as they are suggesting, you may be better off catching it and training your body to build antibodies against it now.

Because if it’s endemic… it will be back.

Until then, support your lungs and your whole body the best that you can. Stay hydrated, eat well, and get daily exercise and sunshine to strengthen your lungs and boost your immunity.

No mask will ever do that for you.

 

[1] https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

[2] https://www.cnn.com/2020/03/02/health/surgeon-general-coronavirus-masks-risk-trnd/index.html

[3] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/coronavirus-news-face-masks-increase-risk-infection-doctor-jenny-harries-a9396811.html

[4] https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2020/05/27/coronavirus-endemic/?fb_news_token=eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJqdGkiOiJmYl81ZWNmOTc5NjFiOTk5NWE1MjEwNzg4NSIsImlzcyI6Imh0dHBzOlwvXC93d3cuZmFjZWJvb2suY29tIiwiaWF0IjoxNTkwNjYzMDYxLCJleHAiOjE1OTA2NjQ4NjEsInVybCI6Imh0dHBzOlwvXC93d3cud2FzaGluZ3RvbnBvc3QuY29tXC9oZWFsdGhcLzIwMjBcLzA1XC8yN1wvY29yb25hdmlydXMtZW5kZW1pY1wvIiwidG9wX3N0b3JpZXMiOmZhbHNlfQ.v5PWs0fR1ye2QH-VsePSxa3nu5P8lswI0Mv0Jwf4hYA

[5] https://www.bbc.com/news/health-51674743

[6] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html

[7] https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/11-03-2019-who-launches-new-global-influenza-strategy