We went to a restaurant the other day when my daughter was visiting and we brought my baby granddaughter, which means there’s always the chance of a screaming baby ruining our dinner and the dinners of everyone else in the restaurant. I am happy to report it went smoothly. She charmed the wait staff by smiling and waving at everyone. Service was good, the food was excellent, and by the time we left, almost every seat in the place was full. There was no sign of COVID concerns.
After the kids headed home, I dropped off the garbage, got the truck its 7,500 mile service, went to the post office, and ran a couple other small errands. Everybody I saw was friendly and helpful, and I didn’t see a single person wearing a mask. The only place that had a sign about masks was the post office, and their employees were not wearing one.
No one where I live seems to panic about the possibility of another COVID-19 wave, but I get the feeling that may not be the case in other parts of the country. Just reading the headlines about “breakthrough” cases that happen in the vaccinated and the failure of the Pfizer vaccine against the Delta variation in Israel is enough to cause some people to panic, and the echo chamber effect of mass media and social media is making the problem sound worse than it is. It’s also causing the anxiety levels in our society to increase, which will inevitably lead to more panic and over reactions.
The Problems with Panic
Panic takes a bad or potentially bad situation and exacerbates it. It is a level above fear and makes normally rational people do irrational things. Panic causes people to act before they think and to make emotional decisions rather than logical ones. I’m herds of buffalo, it causes them to run off the side of a cliff; it’s not that different with people. It can be contagious, especially among the weak-minded or those that are easily influenced by others.
When I worked in emergency management, I learned that the key to avoiding panic was to accept the situation and deal with it, not deny it or wonder how this could be happening. Having training and knowing what to do also helps by giving your brain a pathway to follow.
When faced with the idea that there’s another wave of COVID-19 heading our way, you can panic, buy too much toilet paper, and lock yourself inside for the next six months. Alternatively, you can take some reasonable precautions to reduce your exposure and build your immune system.
When governments panic, you see closures, lockdowns, mask mandates, and stupid things like arresting surfers for riding waves, threatening parents for letting their kids play outside, and fining bar owners who remain open.
Mask vs no Mask
Whether or not the CDC will or should call for a mask mandate or other restrictions was the lad story when I watched the news today.
I think a revised mask mandate will happen, and I think you will see more people refusing to wearing masks this time around than we saw last year. In fact, I predict there will be far more resistance to any government restrictions and others rules implemented under a state of emergency. Most of the resistance will be passive, some of it will become violent, but either way it will cause more arguments and pettiness. Any attempts to enforce these mandates will result in arrests, which will make the government look petty, which in turn will cause even more resistance.
I just don’t see it ending well.