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🧵 #COVID19 and the discourse of 'anxiety' 💬

1. People are ‘returning’ or ‘going back’ to work and good employers are putting safety measures in place.

In the mix, we're witnessing the division of people into categories: ‘comfortable’, '(ir)rational', 'reluctant', ‘anxious’.
2. Today sees an overt push/threat to stop #wft

#TomorrowsPapersToday @hendopolis
3. If I do my job from home for a while longer, which I'm lucky enough to be able to (although my partner, a keyworker, is not), I reduce transmission risk for myself AND others - by being one less body to d i s t a n c e from, need a mask for, etc.

4. While workplaces put #COVID19-safe mitigations in place, proportions of people do not adhere to them.

This places a burden on others to say if it's not okay, which can be difficult to do.
5. I stayed in a small hotel last week, somewhere I’ve been many times. On arrival, the staff carefully explained their excellent safety measures – all the obvious things.

I found myself apologizing for being "a bit anxious", buying into the category 🤔
6. One morning, I met a housekeeper in the corridor. She said, “Are you the anxious one?” I replied defensively, “Um, well, I’m being careful about things”.

In fact, her question wasn’t a preamble to reassurance or judgement.

She wanted to talk.
7. She said, “Oh god, I’m SO anxious. Some of the guests break all the rules but I'll get in trouble if I say anything”.

It is hard to say if it's not okay.

Putting measures in place doesn't guarantee that people will adhere to them.

8. The less risky option of #wft for a while longer is morphing (i.e., it wasn't in March) into a way to categorize people as 'anxious' and in need of 'reassurance' or 'support'.

@Doctreen's thread
9. Should we be ‘supporting’ people to do something that is objectively riskier than doing something else, when ‘something else’ is equally doable, equally effective, & 🤞 temporary?

We are not talking about 'supporting' someone to overcome a phobia or climb a steep mountain.
10. The mitigations - signs, masks, arrows, etc., - provide constant visual feedback that something is wrong.


The only thing that has changed since March are the #newnorms.

The virus is still being transmitted in our communities.

11. Prof Janet Murray at Georgia Tech wrote, in the context of saying it's not okay, “groupthink makes challenge unsayable ... objections ... are ... swallowed up by ... bureaucratic process, lulling everyone into anxious submission.”
12. Upshot: Let's take care not to pathologize and individualize people as ‘anxious’.

#COVID19 is a deadly novel virus with yet-unknown #LongCovid consequences that has killed 1% of the UK population.

70K people, not 1% 🙄
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