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Now’s Not the Time to Stop Talking About COVID

For years, people have been warned to avoid talking about politics at the holiday dinner table. Is talking about COVID-19 now off-limits, as well?

In some families, apparently, the answer is yes.

One PubSEG employee mentioned an uncle who’s been teasing her for still bringing up the virus and the precautions people can take to protect themselves.

“He tells me, COVID’s not even happening anymore,” the employee says. “Of course it’s happening—I wouldn’t have this job if it wasn’t still happening. But it just seems like it’s getting weirder for some people to have conversations about it. Everyone used to be so much more comfortable talking about COVID.”

There’s no disputing that the national mindset around COVID has changed. A recent “Saturday Night Live” sketch went so far as to suggest people are now treating positive COVID diagnoses as an excuse to take a 5-to-10-day vacation from work and avoid household responsibilities, rather than as a virus capable of causing serious short- and long-term health problems.

Given the still-grim numbers (more than 300 people in the U.S. continue to die from the virus every day, according to a recent Washington Post report), joking about COVID might seem a little insensitive. Truthfully, though, the sketch wasn’t minimizing the effects of virus; rather, it was poking fun at people’s cavalier attitude about it.

Worldwide, COVID isn’t going anywhere. On Nov. 16, the World Health Organization reported that global coronavirus cases had increased for the first time in months. New variants could potentially cause worse illness than the current predominant omicron strain, according to a recent South African laboratory study (as reported by Bloomberg).

So why are so many people no longer talking about it? Or, even worse, belligerent toward people who do want to talk about it?

In a lot of cases, it’s because they’re no longer worried about catching the virus themselves.

An October Gallup poll revealed that only 28% of Americans are “very” or “somewhat” concerned they’ll get COVID 19, the lowest percentage Gallup has recorded since the summer of 2021. The poll further showed that 59% of Americans are no longer making any attempts at social distancing.

While it’s great that people are living their lives without fear, ignoring the conversation altogether isn’t healthy for anyone. From the debilitating effects of Long COVID, to the unpredictability of the new variants, to the disproportionate risk to certain segments of the population, there are plenty of COVID topics we must continue to talk about.

Certainly, it’s not a subject that should be completely dismissed at family gatherings, no matter how staunchly your uncle insists “COVID isn’t happening anymore.”

At PubSEG, we’ve never been afraid to have these difficult conversations. Our disease case investigators are adept at approaching sensitive topics with empathy, patience, and understanding. From the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve prided ourselves on being able to speak comfortably with people of all ages and backgrounds, no matter how cynical they might be toward the virus.

And with the technological capabilities of the new PubSEG Portal, our highly trained staff is more equipped than ever to assist with your disease management strategies. The HIPAA-compliant platform allows for quick and efficient communication, secure messaging, vaccine and booster verification, symptom monitoring, daily health screenings and surveys, customizable reports and alerts, and more.

PubSEG’s disease case investigation services benefit a wide range of clients, including colleges and universities, school districts, municipalities, health departments, and other organizations looking to limit the spread of COVID-19.

If you’d like to learn how we can help you, give us a call at 856-240-8117 or email contact@pubseg.com. When it comes to COVID, we’re always willing to have a conversation.