By: Amy Jo Underwood
Despite the availability of a vaccine, and states across the country quickly returning to normal, progressives are clinging to the lockdown policies of last year. The CDC has lifted much of its guidelines, and several governors have banned further emergency health restrictions. However, leftists continue to embrace mask-wearing, social distancing, and avoiding a return to normal life - despite the fact that the CDC and Fauci have finally admitted that vaccinated individuals can resume their old ways of life. This is rooted in both political symbolism and anxiety about returning to normal life.
Multiple vaccine options are available to those who want them, and the CDC has approved a return to normal life for vaccinated individuals. However, some on the left are choosing to continue mask-wearing and social distancing despite the fact they’ve been fully vaccinated.
According to an article published in The Atlantic, it may be more connected to political ideology than health concerns. As the Atlantic states, precautions were warranted at the start of the pandemic, when much was unknown, but “...this is a different story, about progressives who stressed the scientific evidence, and then veered away from it.”
The insistent clinging to lockdown mode is full of political symbolism. Monica Gandhi, self-proclaimed far-left professor of medicine at UC San Francisco confirmed that many health regulations were rooted in political ideology. “If [Trump] said, ‘Keep schools open,’ then, well, we’re going to do everything in our power to keep schools closed,” she stated.
However, habits ingrained through constant mask-wearing and social distancing have taken a toll on mental health. Many who embraced leftist views of the virus are struggling with mental health after a year of being told that they cannot breath fresh air or be with other humans. Those who battled with anxiety before COVID have found themselves fearful of returning to normal interaction after a year of policies that disrupted social lives and encouraged isolation. Suicide rates have risen, and clinical depression has sky-rocketed.
"There's actually such a thing as post-COVID-19 stress disorder, which is along the lines of PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder]." said Sherry Amatenstein, a New York psychotherapist. Amanstein stated that she was vaccinated three months ago but just recently felt safe enough to eat outdoors with a friend.
With some government officials, like Dr. Anthony Fauci, stating that there could be another year of COVID restrictions, those who continue to lean on “experts” for guidance are likely to remain hesitant to embrace normalcy.
“We lived for over a year with such fear and such uncertainty. Your body doesn't know what to do. Our cues are all mixed up. Suddenly what was verboten is supposed to be OK again. How do you react?” - Sherry Amanstein, New York psychotherapist