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Unmasking anxiety is a real thing, and it's perfectly normal

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Eugene Adams
Eugene Adams
Photo by Mahdi Bafande on Unsplash

Covid rates in Los Angeles have been dropping for a while. A big part of that is due to the increasing number of L.A. residents getting vaccinated. 

Here is what the Vaccination picture in Los Angeles looks like as of 05/09/2021.

L.A. Residents 16+

  • 4,940,824 with at least one dose (59.3%)
  • 3,617,488 Fully vaccinated (43.5%)

L.A. Residents 65+ (the most vulnerable)

  • 1,138,723 with at least one dose (82.9%)
  • 940,116 Fully vaccinated (68.4%)

As vaccination rates rise and new infections drop, things are slowly starting to return to normal. But, not everyone is ready for normality yet. 

New Guidance

The CDC’s newest mask guidance is one of many recent changes. 

The CDC’s new, more relaxed stance is a clear sign that things are changing for the better.

June 15th

Governor Newsom has already announced that there will be no California mask mandate after June 15th

That is also the date that California will fully reopen. 

Los Angeles County will follow those same guidelines of reopening. 

But, not everyone is mentally ready for the upcoming changes. 

Mental Shift

It’s one thing to change a rule, a completely different thing to change behavior. 

At the end of the day, people feel how they feel. Some people simply aren’t ready to go back to normal. 

Dr. Thomas Russo is a professor at the University of Buffalo. He makes this point well

“People are nervous about this — I’ve heard it a zillion times. The mask has been their security blanket for 14-plus months.”-Dr. Russo

He is right. A mask has been a security blanket for many residents for over a year. 

Unmasking hesitancy was caused in large part by the government messaging. They encouraged us to fear germs for over a year. 

Author Alicia Clark points out this very thing. 

“Recognize that this has been an incredibly long haul of complying with recommendations and protecting our health. Anxiety has been completely normalized. We’ve really recommended that people become more nervous about exposure to germs. Any change in recommendations should trigger an anxiety response.”-Alicia Clark

My Thoughts 

The CDC and the government have done things at their own pace this whole time. Their pace didn’t always make sense. They were both overly cautious when it came to undoing Covid regulations. 

There is no reason you can’t do the same. 

As time passes, Los Angeles residents are wearing their masks less and less. But that doesn’t mean you can’t go at your own pace. 

So keep masking as much or as little as you want to. And be kind to people who go at a different pace than you. 

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