News Above the Noise: Week of July 17, 2022
1. Is BA.5 the “Reinfection Wave”?
“Covid finally caught me.” How many people have said some version of this to you recently? If you’re like us, so many in your world are sick or have recently been sick with Covid, and the new highly transmissible BA.5 variant is likely to blame. In Ed Yong’s latest piece for The Atlantic, he goes into the many reasons why BA.5 can’t be ignored.
“When people are vaccinated or infected, they develop antibodies that can neutralize the coronavirus by sticking to its spike proteins—the studs on its surface that the pathogen uses to recognize and infect our cells,” Yong writes. “But BA.4 and BA.5 have several mutations that change the shape of their spikes, which, like swords that no longer fit their sheaths, are now unrecognizable to many antibodies that would have disarmed older variants. That’s why, as many studies have now consistently shown, antibodies from triple-vaccinated people, or people who had breakthrough infections with earlier variants, are three to four times less potent at neutralizing BA.4 or BA.5 than BA.1 or BA.2. This means that most people are now less protected against infection than they were two months ago—and that some people who got COVID very recently are getting reinfected now.” To read more about this latest surge of COVID, CLICK HERE.
2. How to Stay Sane in this Divided American Moment
Some neighbors feel hopeless by the news of Roe v. Wade being overturned, while others are rejoicing. Many are exhausted by headlines of another mass shooting, but some are adamant about their personal gun rights. In a world that feels helplessly divided, what are we to do? To read more, click here.
3. Text Your Friends—It Matters More Than You Think
New research shows that most of us underestimate the power of a quick, casual check-in with the people we love the most: Calling, texting, or emailing someone just to say “hello” often seems insignificant, yet it’s likely appreciated much more than you might imagine, according to new research. Even better, the more surprising the text, call, or email (say, you hear from a friend who hadn’t been in touch recently), the more powerful the happy reaction. To read more about this study that’ll undoubtedly prompt you to send a few messages to your pals, CLICK HERE.
4. How to Admit You’re Wrong
Being wrong is one of those unavoidable aspects of being human: It happens to all of us at one point or another. Of course, what constitutes “right” versus “wrong” can be tricky territory. Yet what’s clear is how almost all of us want to avoid being wrong.
So, what prevents us from admitting to our wrongness? It comes down to a psychological theory called cognitive dissonance, which is when two beliefs or behaviors conflict—or when a person’s actions contradict their beliefs. “The motivation to reduce [cognitive dissonance] leads us to double down or come back even stronger with our beliefs,” says Adam Fetterman, assistant professor and director of the Personality, Emotion, and Social Cognition Lab. To read more—and to learn how admitting when you’re wrong isn’t a failure, but rather an opportunity—CLICK HERE.
5. The Age of Distracti-pression
There’s no question about the toll the novel coronavirus pandemic had on our collective mental health. And for millions of Americans, it prompted a prescription for drugs to treat conditions like depression and ADHD. In fact, almost a quarter of Americans over the age of 18 are taking medication for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and many more mental health conditions. According to data provided to The New York Times, prescriptions for depression, anxiety, and ADHD in particular have all risen since the pandemic began. To learn more about how the age of depression has met the age of distraction, CLICK HERE.