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Stessors of the pandemic

Stressed about being out of work? Facing mounting pressure over unpaid bills? Cooped up at home with an abuser? Or just unable to sleep after binge scrolling COVID-19 updates on the internet?

People on Maui are enduring all manner of stressors during this global coronavirus pandemic. While some folks become so overwhelmed they act out dangerously or destructively, others are learning to deal with their anxiety in healthy ways, like taking walks and engaging in new hobbies.

Recent stories in The Maui News provide examples of both sides of the COVID-19 coin. On Tuesday morning, a young man climbed to the top of a Makawao power pole and reportedly complained about issues that included airport closures while police attempted to talk him down. Thankfully, the officers delivered the man back to ground unharmed.

For every news story detailing trouble, this paper has probably run two feel-good pieces about island people going out of their way to help others.

The internet also features a variety of COVID-19 stories, some positive, some negative and some downright untrue. Sadly, there are sites on the World Wide Web whose sole purpose is to stoke COVID-19 fears by sowing disinformation and conspiracy theories. With so many legitimate concerns in the world, the last thing we need is to be divided by bad information.

The discredited, but widely shared, “Plandemic,” went viral last week while espousing a variety of untruths. Among the many items the 26-minute conspiracy theory video got wrong is that wearing masks somehow activates the novel coronavirus, flu vaccines make people more susceptible to COVID-19 and hydroxychloroquine is a proven treatment. Facebook and YouTube have since banned the video promoted by the anti-vaccination movement, but copies continue to circulate.

It is as vital to use credible sources to stay informed as it is to avoid unsubstantiated blogs and comments on social media. If somebody sends you something that seems overly divisive or controversial, check the source. It often only takes a few clicks to find the theory has been debunked. The websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are great places to read what experts are saying.

At The Maui News, as with other legitimate news outlets, we do our best to provide quality, fact-based information backed by reliable sources. Another paper worth checking is The New York Times, which provides most of its COVID-19 coverage for free on its website.

Admittedly, for all the suspect, weaponized pap on the internet, there are many good sites and stories to help us get through this crisis. One example is a staff report by the Medical University of South Carolina that offers 12 very insightful tips to relieve COVID-19 stress.

The report says it is natural to feel anxiety and worry in times of uncertainty. Even in an era of social distancing, it is important to know that we are not alone. It suggests we focus on the good in our world and provide acts of kindness. Staying socially connected and engaged is essential, as is the knowledge that it is OK to ask for help.

This pandemic has an end date. Yes, it’s frustrating to not know what that date is, but stressing over it will not make it come any faster.

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