For those of us taking the coronavirus threat seriously, it’s difficult to fathom why there are relatively so many still who aren’t complying with the recommendations from leading public health professionals.
Despite the overwhelming consensus of global health officials that adhering to social distancing guidelines is the most effective way to diffuse the novel coronavirus pandemic, some people were slow to and even continue to avoid canceling their plans, alter their habits or change their activities. Many are still engaging in social get-togethers and traveling.
It’s frustrating if this is one of your friends or neighbors and extremely endangering if it’s one of your immediate family members.
There actually exists a growing movement now that is pushing the conspiracy theory that this is all a hoax, believing that our own CDC is somehow involved in this crazy idea and working with the World Health Organization to promote a huge lie.
Tragically or poetically, depending on your point of view, many of the early COVID19 deniers actually contracted the disease themselves and some of them died as a result including outspoken Pastor Landon Spradlin.
Curious about this movement, I spent the past 24 hours perusing some of the COVID19 denier websites. While doing so, I discovered countless posts, articles and videos broadcast from newly appointed contagious disease experts who were cable TV installers last week before setting up a broadcast news studio in their basement and from where they scream out the “truth” round the clock.
Most of these posts and videos are mostly filled with anecdotal data and examples that largely ignore contrary evidence that defuses their claims while completely misrepresenting the facts surrounding this dangerous and highly contagious disease.
COVID is NOT the common flu
You will read ad nauseum posts from deniers who are convinced that COVID19 represents no bigger threat than the common flu bug, citing the countless millions of infected annually and the resulting deaths associated with the flu bugs we see each year.
The reality is that coronavirus is an exponentially larger threat, killing those infected at a rate 10 times higher than the common seasonal flu, which typically kills only 0.1 percent of patients affected and for which we have a vaccine to help protect those most vulnerable.
There is currently no approved vaccine available and we are waiting for the clinical trails now underway to produce a viable candidate, but that will still take many months and not likely to reach market until at least 2021..
5G Apocalypse Theories
There is even a 5G conspiracy movement which has taken root on the internet and circulated via social media. In spite of being widely debunked, many still believe that somehow the 5G WiFi networks were put in place to “spread and even worsen the effects of the new coronavirus.”
The New “Coronavirus Trutherism” Movement
A common belief shared by many of this type of conspiracy groups is that World Health Organization (WHO) is a shadowy network controlled by globalists and administered by sinister bureaucrats that – if you ask deniers – is apparently responsible for this coronavirus crisis to begin with.
Some deniers are now blaming the WHO for failing to prepare for this pandemic because it was “too busy talking more about climate change, obesity and tobacco.”
One common and often repeated allegation on many of those pages was the misrepresentation that the WHO had originally warned that there would be over 2 million deaths in the US, even with mitigation, and then ridiculing the organization in light of recent estimates now pointing to deaths under 100,000. The fact is that the WHO originally gave that warning based on the United States NOT implementing and following mitigation measures.
It’s little lies like this that these groups use to push their agendas and they are bolstered by doctors they can find who are vaccine conspiracy believers in an attempt to add credibility to their wacko, science denying agenda.
Unsurprisingly, there are psychological reasons why some people may feel highly disinclined to ignore social distancing.
There’s a reason why in times of high stress, some people respond with rebelliousness and latch onto anything that can alleviate their fears and stress, even when their own guts are telling them it’s true.
Jud Brewer, M.D., Ph.D., a neuroscientist and addiction psychiatrist shared several reasons why people aren’t staying home right now or wanting to accept the seriousness of the viral threat.
“Some people are trying to retain a feeling of control by ignoring or defying stay-at-home orders. Other people are oppositional in nature and routinely defy authority. Many more are in denial, especially if they aren’t in hardest-hit areas, aren’t in high-risk groups and/or don’t know anyone with the virus.”
Brewer went onto say that anxiety “definitely” affects our ability to think clearly, make decisions or solve problems. The influx of uncertainty could be contributing to a denial of reality or factual information.
“When anxiety gets really bad, we start to panic,” he says. “It leads to things like panic-buying.”
In an op-ed for the New York Times, Dr. Brewer explains that there are really two ways to stop anxiety from mismanaging your life:
• First, be aware that we are becoming anxious, and
• Second, understand what the result is.
This helps us differentiate behaviors that bring comfort, and behaviors that are actually integral to our survival.
“Panic can lead to behaviors that are dangerous,” he explains. “Anxiety is both acutely mentally and physically weakening and a slow burn that has more long-term health consequences.”
Why are some people not convinced by factual information?
“Actions are driven by emotions, not rational thought,” he explains. Understanding this will help you get through some frustration.
How can we be more open to changing our own minds?
Of course, it’s not all about what other people are doing wrong.
If we are the ones struggling to accept our new reality, Brewer says that the first step is to take as much time as we need to “reset” our brains, and cool down emotionally. “When we are anxious or panicked, our thinking brains are offline and we can’t think. The first step is to help them get back online, so that we can take in rational information,” he shares.
Ultimately, things have changed, and even when they do return to normal, it won’t be precisely the new normal that we once knew. There’s a lot of uncharted territory to deal with, and that includes how the people around you are going to respond.
Whether you choose to believe the overwhelming number of public health professionals or some obscure conspiracy groups on the internet, do yourself and all of us a big favor; please follow the recommended social distancing and isolation guidelines, not only for your own sake but for the health of your other family members, friends, neighbors and community in general.
And even if you think I’m wrong, why not do it anyway? Do you really want to risk the chance of being the weak link that caused a fatal outbreak in your own family or among your friends and neighbors, forever engraving your legacy be the one that stuck your head in the sand in the face of so much data and evidence?
#coronavirus #covid #covid19 #covid-19 #deniers #WHO