Stress impacts everything in our lives. The holistic worldview encourages us to consider everything in our life as connected. Through those connections, there are bonds that sustain us throughout life and help to keep us grounded in logic and reality in times of trauma or transition.
As we’ve recently discovered, the stress we have lived with since late March is here to stay for a while longer. The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is having a resurgence. COVID-19 is surging again, not just here in Louisiana or even the greater New Orleans area, but in multiple states.
For many, current stress levels are high regarding health, safety for ourselves and friends/ family, feeling socially isolated, and regaining financial balance. The news about the spike in cases in many areas in the US has caused a different emotion for some, namely anger. Anger and frustration are building quickly, because the spike is directly related to the refusal to wear a mask, stay at least 6 feet apart, and stay home when you don’t feel well.
These simple steps are simply not happening to a large extent. That kind of risky behavior has the potential to hurt many people, perhaps even end lives or change them forever. We ought to know about risky behavior in the LGBTQ+ community. Many of us have had the experience of attempting to live our lives as openly as possible, and having to fight for our sexual identity to be accepted, or if not accepted, at least not facing barriers to career and day-to-day living. It used to be dangerous just to BE in our world. We risked it.
The risky behavior I see now is coming from within, not from fear of an outside force preventing us from living as we like. I do feel people who identify as LGBTQ+ still need a kind of vigilance to negotiate life. That’s different, however, from behaving in a way that is risky for yourself as well as many who might come into contact with you. I would like to know why it is so difficult to adhere to a few precautions?
Here’s what a few of the reasons might be according to folks I’ve asked: It’s silly, no one really knows if it helps; no one is going to tell me what to do; it’s summer and too damned hot to wear something around my nose and mouth; I am young, not sick and it won’t affect me much if I do get it. That’s for starters.
Other winners are: I’m not sick, my friends aren’t sick, why can’t we go party? And masks make me look stupid, I’m not going to wear it, ruins my look. Shortsighted, at best, eh?
I recently made a list of the words I’d use to describe someone who refused, in public, to wear a mask and stay at least 6 feet apart: absurd, foolish, preposterous, irrational, ludicrous, incongruent, disrespectful, asinine, and selfish. I would also wonder if someone might not be aware of the facts, or care about them, or sadly cannot understand them.
Regardless, putting others at risk for a serious health concern is simply not acceptable. There are several popular myths about masks I have heard for months; here are a few here adapted from AARP’s information:
Myth #1 You don’t have to wear a mask if you ‘re not sick. NOT true.
The current recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is that everyone should wear a face covering in public settings where it may be difficult to maintain at least 6 feet of space from others. Places like grocery stores, salons, gyms, banks, and pharmacies warrant wearing masks. Some infected people might be presymptomatic or even asymptomatic and, as such, are at risk of unknowingly spreading the virus to others. Is it worth it?
Myth #2 A loose-fitting mask works just fine. NOT true.
The CDC tells us that your face mask should “fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face.” and completely cover the mouth and nose to help prevent respiratory droplets from escaping. Please be sure you can breathe normally with it on. Always have an extra mask or two with you, especially if you will be in any public space.
Myth #3 Wearing a mask means you don’t have to do those other things. NOT true.
Even with a face mask on, do not abandon other preventive measures. Frequent and thorough handwashing and physical distancing remain vital. According to the CDC, mitigating the risk of COVID-19 requires a multipronged approach, including social distancing, vigilant hygiene, and wearing a mask.
Which of those are you doing, and when will you begin if you’re not doing one or all now? Ask yourself, are you willing to risk contracting the virus, or spreading this virus to others in your friend group, your family?
The numbers are growing alarmingly. The age group that now seems to be targeted runs between 23 and 40. Many will not feel sick which doesn’t mean they are negative; they can still infect others.
I would like to see us adhere to these guidelines because they are easy and well worth it to follow in order to be safe, remain healthy, and respect others.
I usually write more about positivity, hope and courage which is my personal mantra. Today I am writing about self-respect, logic and true caring for others. Consider life, the people you love, your favorite pastimes, anything that you enjoy. It’s all connected–how we live, how we love, and what we bring to this life. We can help beat this horror that has disrupted the world. We can change the course of COVID here in Louisiana, starting right now. PLEASE wear a mask!