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social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2019

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The United States has not been able to control the covid pandemic. Amazingly to many epidemiologists and physicians, when you tell people to wear a mask and socially distance themselves from one another they do not do so.

This is not a surprise to mental health professionals.

With all of the chaos and psychological trauma and fear from coronavirus and the loss of one’s income and job, it is fairly obvious that people facing so many catastrophic stresses are going to find it difficult to change their behaviors with out support, training, and motivation to do so. Telling people to wear masks and stay home (even when the speaker is America’s favorite grandfatherly, world-famous physician Dr. Fauci) becomes an impossible task when you are worrying about where to get food tomorrow or pay rent or homeschool your child or the health of your aging parents.

Part of a successful response to a pandemic is not only developing a vaccine but also helping people deal with stress, get needed resources to repair their lives, and feel better about themselves and their futures. And then many of them can move their focus to wear a mask and social distance and accept the vaccine when it is available to them.

You know that. The immunologists and epidemiologists and administrators are not people-people but rather laboratory people. We need to get mental health and nursing and social work professionals on the side of those needing interventions to help them deal successfully with the covid pandemic.

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As the assault of the pandemic contiunues unabated, I find that I am getting increasingly numb to the causes and the effects. Some call this pandemic fatigue. Others call it trauma. Or overstimulation or shutdown on sensitivity to the continuing clatter. Yeah, I know a vaccine is supposed to save us, but I am so screwed by up by thoughts of what it means that 250,000 souls have been lost in 10 months, I casnnot even envision what it will feel like when 500,000 have died, a marker I think we will hit before the US population has all be vaccinated.

NUMB. No Understanding of the Many Battles.

Why do we fight about whether to wear a mask? The scientific research unequivocally shows masks save lives (including that of the wearer). Will we fight in a few months whether to get vaccinated? Probably so many will refuse that the overall protection for all of our citizens will be limited.

Why do we fight about dealing with the economy? We have far too many people crushed by unemployment. We can create millions of useful jobs that would improve the infrastructure of the country.

Why do we ignore the mental health and psychological processes injured by the ongoing pandemic? I feel crummy from the pandemic, your family and friends do, and you do. We should be able to agree it is a high priority to repair the damage the pandemic is doing to all of us. And, make even more jobs to achieve this.

Why are we so divided as a society? We have brutual political divisions affecting the healthcare and financial systems. We have racism, the denial of equal opportunity, gender and sexual orientation bias, and many other problems that are growing almost as fast as the virus spread.

I am trying hard to get over my own feelings of being NUMB. Maybe you should also try to stop being NUMB.

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