Help stop the spread of fear

Originally appeared online in the teen series: UpFront - March 10, 2020

At my friend’s high school, some students have been wearing surgical masks for weeks. Even the announcement that the masks won’t actually protect them hasn’t really changed anything.

“People are afraid,” my friend told me. “The masks give them a feeling of safety.”

It might seem natural to feel afraid when words like contagion, pandemic, and quarantine are floating around. I’ve even heard people argue that fear can be helpful—motivating us to take action to protect ourselves. But actually, fear can distort our view of what’s going on and inhibit our ability to think clearly by inciting panic … or paralysis. The experts agree, and many have taken to social media to try to calm people’s fears with reassurances and facts.

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