“Athmungsschutzvorrichtungen” (1889) (Public Domain)

Meet Jeff. Jeff (not his real name) is a man from The Netherlands who suffers from a condition called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS).

Online, Jeff has been chronicling how he’s been protecting himself during the pandemic with his unique condition. His Twitter bio reads: “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity patient that means I can’t leave my house without a protective mask.”

One of Jeff’s favourite things to do is share the different types of face protection devices he uses for various situations.

He says he’s been using a half protective face mask since 2015, but has since considerably upgraded his protection amid the pandemic. His go-to respirator is a kitted out powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR), which consists of some kind of headgear (often a mask or hood that resembles a welding helmet), a powered fan, filter, breathing tube, and battery — but sometimes he settles for a gas mask if the mood strikes. In the air purifying market, PAPRs are the crème de la crème; they can retail up to $4,000 and are primarily used in high risk health care environments. Health care workers often wear them with hazmat suits, though Jeff likes to accompany his with a white bib-like vest that says ‘ALLERGY PATIENT’ in large black letters.

When met with stares or questions, Jeff passes around flyers to educate strangers of his condition. “I need this mask to survive,” he says.

But the difference between a health care worker in a high risk environment and Jeff is that Jeff’s high risk environment is entirely of his own making. And that is because Jeff’s condition — MCS — doesn’t actually exist — at least not in the way we might think.

The controversial condition is currently not recognized by any major professional medical body.

MCS is indeed a real health condition, but the medical community so far believes it to be psychiatric, not physiological, in nature. It’s a somatoform disorder, which means that there may be a number of psychiatric ailments at play that manifest themselves physically.

Studies like this detailed 800-page report reveal that chronic anxiety may actually play a large role in explaining symptoms of MCS sufferers. The report also found that patients diagnosed with MCS may actually be less sensitive to odours than patients who have not been diagnosed (whether self-diagnosed or diagnosed by a health care professional).

In other words, MCS, like many other mysterious and controversial illnesses is a catch-all diagnosis that is the culmination of a multitude of disparate, mysterious symptoms.

Some MCS advocates disagree with this prognosis and feel that they are not being taken seriously by health professionals.

Jeff’s online presence reveals he is a big proponent of The Science™, but only selectively so. For people like Jeff, medical professionals are to be believed when they validate our neuroses, but they are to be questioned when they do not.

To see someone like Jeff suffer in this way, and whose suffering has only deepened since Covid, is sad to watch — especially since such individuals are completely unaware of their progressive mental instability. Jeff isn’t getting the proper support he needs and the pandemic has only been more harmful for him, not because of his disease, but because of the psychological impacts of Covid. In his mind, Jeff seems to think, “Once I get Covid I’m done for — and the only thing keeping me alive is this mask.”

At this point, Jeff says he cannot step foot outside his house without one of his masks. Not even when no one is around.

Jeff’s story is not unique; he is one of many who are suffering globally from Covid hysteria, or Covidmania.

He has made his condition his entire identity — and he’s proud of it. He once recounted a story in which a young boy allegedly called him a ‘superhero’ for his get-up, which of course only validated him further. Because identity is the new currency, we’re seeing an influx of people self-diagnosing mental illnesses (as well as physical disabilities, like this person) that they do not actually have.

Making Covid your identity is emblematic of a society that is obsessed with identity. When you make everything about identity, even diseases become a badge of honour.

Those who have been afflicted by Covid hysteria share some of the following symptoms: high neuroticism; excessive anxiety; disease-based agoraphobia. They live in a kind of perpetual hyper anxious state; they’re often dogmatic in their views; and can be irrational at the best of times. Interestingly, many also lean more progressive (in the contemporary liberal way in which progress actually means the opposite).

Covid has pushed the already mentally fragile people to the brink — not because of the impacts of the disease, but because of the psychological impact of pandemic propaganda, of which the media, institutions, and politicians are complicit.

As a result, an entire class of Covid hypochondriacs have been created.

Fear” by Maria Yakunchikova (1893–95) (Public Domain)

Some people to this day still proudly report to be living in isolation in an attempt to control every single variable in their lives so as not to get Covid. Others brag about keeping their mask on at all times — including outdoors when they are alone by themselves. Many kids are admitting to using their masks not as a Covid deterrent, but as a safety blanket to hide their own insecurities. Others adopted the mask as a fashion statement.

Some Covidentitarians have even taken to reposting pictures of positive PCR tests they stole from other users all so they can pretend to be Covid positive, gain sympathy points, and trot out the narrative of having done everything but still getting Covid. Many Covidentitarians are Chronically Online. And, like people who get sucked into the dark corners of the web, this group is no different. They only see what they want to. They often speak in hyperbole (‘you will literally die if you get COVID!’) and are paralyzed by fear. Many are also products of suburbia, an environment which has sufficiently sterilized and neutered them to the point where they are incapable of thinking for themselves. They’ve put their lives on hold, and have entered a state of purgatory — no longer living, but not quite dead.

Some are unsure they even want to continue living. “I don’t know if I even want to be alive anymore,” one Twitter user wrote.

Another user wrote: “Do what you can to survive,” as if the apocalypse is well underway.

Some parents are isolating their children from their peers, punishing them for their own misplaced fears despite overwhelming evidence that kids are the least at risk.

This parent doesn’t seem to care that they may be stunting their children’s development during their critical formative years:

“I have zero guilt for not “socializing” my kids; there’s no society of which I want them to be part, no behaviours I want them to learn or emulate — and I will continue to shield them not only from a deleterious virus, but from a far more deleterious mindset for as long as I can.”

This parent doesn’t see anything wrong with socializing their kids exclusively online, and has deemed all public buildings danger zones.

We’re a family of computer nerds. We can socialize online, together. My kids have been homeschooled since 2020 & will continue to do so until public buildings are safe again [emphasis mine].”

This parent declares the following incident as a ‘mask micro-aggression’ (a phrase I hope will never catch on):

“My daughter’s class has been kept in at lunch as consequence for the poor behaviour of a few kids (not her. My daughter is the only child who masks, the only child who does not eat inside. So today, she does not eat. And the teacher knows this. Mask micro-aggressions.”

These parents are robbing their kids of a normal childhood — some are even okay with their children not eating altogether, implementing their own futile Covid Zero strategy (which we already know only leads to greater harm — see: China). No one needs to live like this (unless of course someone actually is immunocompromised, though that is a given and hardly needs to be said).

Social interaction is critical for healthy development, and deliberately shielding your children away from it is tantamount to abuse. I suspect children of Munchausen-susceptible parents will face some serious obstacles as they get older, and it is these obstacles that will be the parents’ greatest challenges, not Covid. These families have successfully insulated their children for as long as they can, though the psychological and social toll this will have on their kids is yet to be known. They created their own prison and then forcibly put their kids in the prison to suffer with them.

“Massacre of the Innocents” by Peter Paul Rubens (Public Domain)

Some health care professionals are now stoking fear about Long Covid, a still mysterious illness. One anesthesiologist claimed that,

“If you’re all of a sudden having weird symptoms: extreme fatigue, numbness/pain, chest pain, acid reflux, irritable bowel, shortness of breath, dizziness, changes in senses, onset of diabetes or other autoimmune diseases and you previously had COVID…you’ve now entered Long COVID.”

Apparently this health care worker who is also a medical contributor to MSNBC feels more than comfortable diagnosing strangers from the comfort of Twitter. She carelessly lists a grab bag of symptoms that could be attributed to any number of things, and confidently concludes that it must be Long Covid, no doubt stoking more fear among Covidentitarians. It’s reckless behaviour, and it feeds into the fears people already have about Covid. This is so far from The Science; it is anti-science.

You don’t empower patients by using fear, you empower them by education and awareness.

Let this be a reminder that no doctor can ever diagnose a patient without actually seeing said patient. If you have one or more of the above symptoms, go see your doctor. Don’t take a stranger’s word for it who has their own agenda, and who behaves irresponsibly online.

It’s unsettling when ordinary people fall into these traps, but when medical professionals further engage in unethical diagnosing like this, it’s downright dangerous.

Another health care professional — who is a research associate and does not actually work directly with patients as far as I can tell — called Long Covid a ‘movement.’ I have never seen anyone refer to any disease as a ‘movement.’ Framing it this way makes it sound as if Long Covid requires some form of initiation, and by being apart of the ‘movement,’ you become part of something special.

I’m all for ‘live and let live,’ but social trends like this impact us all.

With the rise of Covidentitarianism, it’s not merely our belief systems that are clashing, but our different realities pulling us further apart. How will this impact societal relations? Communities? How will our kids be impacted? We need to have an honest and open discussion about all of these things.

Covid has become the center of people’s identity; it has allowed unremarkable, ordinary people the opportunity to be a hero for once in their otherwise meaningless lives (the number of times I’ve seen people comparing mask wearing to being a superhero is one too many). The desperate need to conform, even if it is against our better interest, is all too tempting (and the endorphin rush is an additional perk). Covid made it especially easy to fit in: all it required was for you to stay home, blindly obey government orders, and *snap* you’re instantly a hero. For virtue signallers, this was the easiest and most righteous cause to take on.

Covidmania! is a dangerous phenomenon, and it must be discussed alongside Covid. Discussing this issue does not mean we need not discuss the impacts of Covid, or suspend research into Long Covid, or ignore the side effects of the Covid vaccine. I think there is a place to discuss all of these issues simultaneously without judgement or shame. It’s well past time we do.

[Disclaimer: Due to ambiguous copyright laws, I’ve had to directly embed Jeff’s tweets, but I want to reiterate that my intention is not to mock or encourage pile-on, but to bring up a worrying trend that has taken hold of a large swath of vulnerable people. I do not agree with punching down, but I also do not agree with ignoring the problem altogether and in turn enabling such behaviour.]