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OUR VIEW: Mask on, mask off

Why do respiratory ailments seem worse post-COVID?

It’s been a year since B.C. shut down its COVID-19 dashboard and out in the world, we are packing theatres, dance floors and public transit like never before.

Aside from a few individuals, who still choose to wear masks, there are few indications of the pandemic left over.

Things have gone back to normal.

Unfortunately, back to normal also means we are again catching cold, flu and other respiratory bugs that the COVID measures we all observed for almost three years prevented. COVID isn’t gone either, it has just become endemic, something we deal with as just being a regular part of life (and death).

Now that colds and flus are back, many conclude they have become more virulent. But the people who study these things say that isn’t the case.

So, why do they seem so much worse than they used to?

One explanation is just the nature of human memory. We tend to remember good things selectively over bad things. We just think they’re worse than they used to be because we haven’t had to deal with them for several years and we don’t remember how much they suck.

The other explanation is that the symptoms are worse because we don’t have the built-up immunity that we used to. Just as vaccines are not 100 per cent effective, but can lessen the severity of symptoms, natural immunity may have the same effect.

We are not advocating by any stretch of the imagination that we should go back to the draconian measures of COVID, but there are still plenty of simple things we can do to reduce the risk for ourselves and others. We all know what they are, we just need to start doing them again.

And the next time we are tempted to look askew at one of those people still wearing a mask, perhaps we should consider they might not be the crazy one.

– Black Press