COVID-19 Paranoia — Will it Get Better or Worse?
Recently, I thought about all of the restrictions that are now in place to limit people’s contact points and maintain social distancing and wondered how long businesses could enforce these rules and people could follow them.
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, I had to visit MedExpress Urgent Care for a minor infection. I was paranoid to go because it was my first time leaving my house in a month. I also didn’t know if any of their patients were infected with COVID-19.
Although the waiting room chairs were spaced out, I avoided sitting down on them as I wanted to limit the number of things I touched.
Since then, I’ve gone to multiple doctors’ appointments with less paranoia. While my dermatologist was telling me to avoid the emergency room at the beginning of March, I ended up going there for a kidney stone three months later.
On June 15, I woke up with pain in my lower, right back. At first, I thought I slept in a weird position, so I tried to crack it. After cracking it, the pain became excruciatingly painful, and I grew sick because of the pain.
Upon my arrival at UPMC Passavant’s hospital in Cranberry Township, my mom and I had to be screened before entering the building. My mom informed the hospital’s staff that I was very sick and needed to be seen immediately.
Hearing this during a pandemic, they immediately took a step back until my mom reassured them that I wasn’t displaying any symptoms of COVID-19, but different symptoms.
Taking me inside, they performed an ultrasound and a CAT scan and found that there was a small, 2-millimeter kidney stone lodged in my right kidney.
From my experiences, I think people have become less paranoid than I was when I visited MedExpress Urgent Care back in March and UPMC Passavant’s hospital staff was when I visited their hospital back in June.
In fact, an assumption of Uncertainty Reduction Theory states that uncertainty creates cognitive discomfort, which people will try to reduce. This uncertainty can be diminished by asking questions in an attempt to learn more about the person or object in question.
My theory is that over time, as people have already learned and will continue to learn about the effects of COVID-19, they won’t be as paranoid about contracting the virus.
Additionally, they won’t be as willing to comply with social distancing guidelines and wear their face masks.
An article written by Wired states that some people haven’t worn their face masks. While people follow guidelines like washing their hands with soap and warm water for 20 seconds and applying hand sanitizer in public settings when a sink isn’t available, other people treat mask-wearing differently.
Perhaps this is because we’ve gotten too comfortable with the virus and no longer see a need to wear our masks in public settings. Another argument poses that wearing our mask doesn’t protect us from the virus.
The article states that studies performed on people with influenza show that masks didn’t have an overall effect on their health.
However, these studies did have some design flaws as, in the first study, there weren’t enough sick people to test. They also couldn’t determine if the students were sick before or after the study began.
Additionally, the second study bared little resemblance to the question of whether you should wear a face mask in public settings as the people tested were adults living with children with influenza.
There’s also a debate on whether cloth masks are safer to use than medical masks and respirators such as the N95 mask.
A study designed by the CDC found that the effectiveness of cloth masks is lower than medical masks and respirators, but still provide more protection than not wearing one. Actually, wearing multilayer face masks may provide a reasonable amount of protection against COVID-19.
While healthcare works are discouraged to wear cloth masks and encouraged to wear medical masks and respirators, people in community settings are encouraged to wear cloth masks to prevent the spread of infections by people with or without symptoms of COVID-19.
Whether people have gotten comfortable with COVID-19 or don’t believe in the effectiveness of face masks, it is our responsibility to make sure we are doing everything in our power to get rid of the virus.
Although cloth face masks don’t have as much of an impact on our health as medical masks and respirators, it is still better to wear them than to not wear one at all.
Bastian, H. (2020, April 8). The Face Mask Debate Reveals a Scientific Double Standard. Retrieved from https://www.wired.com/story/the-face-mask-debate-reveals-a-scientific-double-standard/. Accessed on October 04, 2020.
Effectiveness of Cloth Masks for Protection Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 — Volume 26, Number 10-October 2020 — Emerging Infectious Diseases journal — CDC. (2020, July 22). Retrieved from https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/10/20-0948_article. Accessed on October 04, 2020.
James, M. (2012, September 27). Uncertainty Reduction Theory. Retrieved from https://www.communicationstudies.com/communication-theories/uncertainty-reduction-theory. Accessed on October 04, 2020.