In the U.S. we are at a major turning point in the fight against Covid. The CDC has released new guidelines regarding masks and when and whom should wear it. This post isn’t going to delve into the arguments for or against mask wearing, each side has valid points to make. I am also no going to get into the politics, how the media has used the pandemic or anything else highly cynical and believe me there is plenty of meat on those bones to chew on. I am going to talk about the very real (and completely valid) anxiety associated with “getting back out there”
First let’s see what the CDC actually said: “Fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.” SOURCE
The key here is “Fully Vaccinated People”. If you have looked on the web over the last few days you would think everyone is now given the green light to go out and get back to “normal”. Again this post isn’t to argue for or against government mandates it’s to discuss anxiety issues around the new reality. People are going to be out and about without masks, some of those people won’t be vaccinated.
How exactly are you going to know if they are or are not? Will they need to carry a card? Have a symbol on their shirt designating them as vaccinated or non? The quick answer is it’s going to have to be on the honor system because in the U.S. we have a very potent law called HIPAA. This law, unless changed, prohibits your personal medical information from being released without your consent.
Here in lies the trap for people with anxiety. Maybe you felt better or less anxious when people wore masks. Maybe you felt compelled yourself to wear one even though you did not have covid and were not at a high risk of getting it. You are now thrust back into a situation pre covid but with covid knowledge. More accurately, for the last year you have been bludgeoned by media, friends, family, politicians on Covid.
Its omnipresent and now the CDC says mask mandates can be lifted. It’s okay to be anxious, it’s okay to still wear a mask if you want to, it’s okay to still be extremely cautious. What isn’t okay is if you chose to inflict those feelings on other people who, don’t feel the same way. What if someone isn’t wearing a mask or social distancing what will you say or do now that the CDC says it’s okay? Will you demand proof of vaccination? What if the person refuses or worse challenges your authority to even ask?
This is going to be a tense period for many of you, the best possible way to combat covid anxiety is to get vaccinated. Minimally you’ll know you’ve done everything you can to protect yourself. You can’t make other people do anything, particularly with government mandates evaporating daily. You are going to have to find a way to navigate back into the old normal, with Covid fears hammered into your head.
You can do it, I think you are doing awesome as it is and you just need to take this one encounter at a time, one day at a time. Hang in there.
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2 thoughts on “The new CDC guidelines and your Anxiety”
I look forward to seeing faces again and I hope people stop crossing the street when I approach.
Indeed, its been a long year. Here’s hoping things go smoothly and we all have a great summer.