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June 2021 – The Concept of Armoring in a Period of Mistrust – As the Rules Change Who Can We Trust?

concept of armoringThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines stating fully vaccinated Americans can stop wearing masks, in most situations. What about the multitude who are not vaccinated? Trust is in short supply these days in the midst of continuing Covid-19 cases, as the pandemic has caused severe mistrust, anxiety, isolation, and vaccination resistance. There is a flood of new information on variants, along with worldwide vaccine shortages that stoke the flames of continued threats. Add in the catastrophic dynamics of the have’s and have-not’s, racial differences in vaccination rates—and, of course, the politicization that creates severe polarization between parties; all these factors have undermined people’s ability to trust which would enable a greater capacity to work together in a time of crisis and tragedy.

We have endured so much this past year. The idea of “opening up”, relaxing mask-wearing, going out-and-about to restaurants, theaters, museums, seeing friends, hugging, and more, is both heartwarming yet anxiety-provoking. How far can we go? What is safe? For over a year we have watched others die; friends and family we know and loved succumbed to Covid-19. We have been in a constant state of terror: what did we touch, how did we contaminate? The best advice for over a year was to lock down. Now, the doors are suddenly wide-open and many feel overwhelmed. We have been through too much to feel safe.

A bakery once asked everyone to please wear a mask; it is now without guidance and left out in the cold. “We used to have a sign on our door that said you can’t come in unless you’re masked, and now I don’t know what my sign should say: ‘If you are not vaccinated, please wear a mask?’” (Bosman, Mervosh, 2021)

“Fewer than half of Americans over the age of 18 are fully vaccinated.” (Bosman, Mervosh, 2021) The Honor Code mentality demands trust in government, which is severely eroded. Conspiracy theories abound in sectors of the population. The reality of the virus is questioned, and skepticism, cynicism, and paranoia have become normal mindsets.

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