There are various phases people seem to be going through that match the stages of grief with COVID-19. You can, and likely will jump around these phases many times. Where are you currently sitting?
“More people die from the flu. This is a media hoax. Why are people buying Toilet Paper? CoronaVirus Beer time everyone!”
First is the Denial stage. In this stage, individuals believe the COVID-19 is just a hoax, a media frenzy, nothing to worry about, “no worse than the flu”. People cling to a false, preferable reality – There is no threat from the virus.
People in this stage will share memes, make jokes, ignore people talking about it, and pretend it’s not real.
“You know nothing. WAY more people die from obesity according to this report. Way more people recover from COVID-19 than die, said the news.”
In the Anger stage there is a large amount of frustration and emotional discomfort starting. You can’t quite deny all the reports anymore but can still find information to make you think everyone is overreacting.
People in this stage are frequently sharing more aggressive memes, people attacking each other online over “facts” they have found. Super opinionated that things are “still ok”.
“We need to get toilet paper” “We are all going to get the virus, who cares? What’s the point? “ “We should have a COVID-19 party so everyone can get it at once and get it over with”
In the depression stage, sadness, fear and panic step in. You are scared and confused. You may rush to the store and purchase mass supplies like toilet paper. Hoarding things. This tiny step makes you feel you have something under control.
You accept the virus is out there, but may sometimes feel the end is here and there is nothing we can do about it. Many people in this stage feel they will get the virus eventually so “better to get it over with.”
“This isn’t a joke. Here are 15 articles that talk about how serious it is.” “Have you seen this news report?” “There are X deaths in this area divided by X confirmed cases” “God will save us. The Gov’t will save us.”
In the bargaining stage, you are very worried about the virus. You spend a significant amount of time researching papers, watching the news and talking to your friends about COVID-19 to try and understand the risk of catching or dying from the disease.
You may start posting repeatedly all the information and facts you learn on Facebook. You may start offering requests to a higher power (praying), or having a belief that the Government will be able to save us.
“It’s going to be okay.” “We can make it through this” “There are some simple things we can do to help slow the spread” “We can’t fight it; we may as well prepare for it.”
In this last stage, individuals embrace the inevitable future – You believe COVID-19 will spread through your city. The virus is coming, it is time to prepare.
You accept we can not know all the facts for an emerging virus, that this will change every day but you continue to educate yourself. You wash your hands, avoid unnecessary contact with others. You prepare the best you can for how to take care of yourself and your loved ones. You are no longer resisting the reality of our situation. You are not struggling to make it something different. You understand that the world is about to have the first major world wide crisis of most of our lifetimes. You are ready.