January 9, 2020

Collective narcissism

Maybe because we had the first cases in the nation, maybe because we have leaders that believe in social responsibility, as well as science. Maybe because of the Seattle Freeze or maybe because so many tech workers were able to work from home. Seattle and King County, Washington have done an amazing job compared to the rest of the country in preventing the spread of SARS-COV-2. I have the numbers listed below. The numbers tell the story and reinforce all of the measures we are doing to protect ourselves while waiting for the vaccine rollout. The Governor of South Dakota should be ashamed and held responsible for the blocking of measures to prevent the spread in her state. Instead, her governance increased the case rate massively which resulted in more deaths. Compare 1 death per 2,035 people in King County versus 1 death per 898 in the US and 1 death in 569 in South Dakota. I am appalled. These numbers truly show that governance and truth matter.

The National Geographic has an excellent article about why people grab onto conspiracy theories. One of the key ideas is about “collective narcissism” which explains the group thinking that refuses mask wearing and social distancing. Conspiracy theories are more rampant and easily believed in a chaotic world, which is where we find ourselves right now.

Changing peoples minds is not easy, arguing and presenting facts is a no win situation. We can listen to find out what their fears are, but changing their minds will only happen if they think we are listening and not judging them. That takes time and energy that we may not have. It is OK not to engage if you find you are not in a place to take it on. We can’t save everyone.

What we can do is make sure that our data and facts are reliable and that we aren’t falling into any traps set by our own biases. False information is rampant, a true Infodemic. Each of us can fall into it, without knowing it. I use NewsGuard to help sort through reliable sources, it can help with both pandemic data and other news.

We can also continue our measures to protect ourselves from infection and get our vaccines when available. I got mine two weeks ago and feel safer already, knowing that I am at the stage where my body’s immune system is making protective antibodies.

Wash your hands, cover your nose, keep safe six, and be aware of your biases.

And finally, my caveat is that this is my experience and my opinions, which are subject to change as more information is available, and not related to the organization I work for. Thanks for reading.

King County, Wash.

Since January of last year, at least 1 in 33 people who live in King County have been infected, and at least 1 in 2,035 have died.

United States

Since January of last year, at least 1 in 15 people who live in the United States have been infected, and at least 1 in 898 have die

South Dakota

Since January of last year, at least 1 in 9 people who live in South Dakota have been infected, and at least 1 in 569 have died.