The 4th of July celebrations will be different this year than in the past as COVID-19 continues to spread. Fireworks, parades and community gatherings cancelled. Health experts are encouraging people to stay home this weekend and if around others, wear a mask, social distance, and practice good hand hygiene. Yes, embracing the new normal is not easy. It is human nature to focus on what’s missing and not what is present.
Like other days, I paused my Twitter scroll to read 31 year-old Byron Bernstein’s tweets this morning. Better known by his professional gamer tag of ‘Reckful’, he was a very successful professional esports player who moved into the streaming world. I have followed Reckful on Twitter and YouTube for a couple of years. While I can’t remember how I came across Reckful, I remember being so struck by how he openly talked about his challenge with depression, the suicide of his brother, meditation, health care costs, gaming, etc. I listened to hours of his streams, some with a Harvard psychiatrist, and reflected on how “my generation” was not open to discussing mental health issues. I followed his progress developing a video game, ‘Everland’ for release this year. The goal of Everland was to help players find friendships and create a sense of community. A few months ago, I learned my son knew Reckful and competed against him. Two hours after this morning’s tweets, Reckful died by suicide. For this Independence Day weekend, hug those you live with and virtual hugs for all of your loved ones.
For this Weekend’s Reading, do not miss Independence Day: Celebrate Safely, and the quizzes at the PBS link. Read about increasing drug overdoses, alcohol use, and the mental health crisis occurring during this pandemic in the In the Darkness section. Explore Too Afraid to Go about deaths that occurred at home due to peoples’ fear of catching the virus at a hospital. Lastly, do not miss Pandemic Reruns, for a look at aspects of past pandemics that are relevant today.
I hope you enjoy the following:
1. Independence Day: Celebrate Safely
American Red Cross: 20 Ways to Stay Safe During 4th of July
National Geographic: How ‘Hamilton’ and other movies can spark a learning revolution
PBS: July 4th Quizzes
2. In the Darkness
The Atlantic: The Millennial Mental-Health Crisis: Suicides and overdoses among young adults were already skyrocketing before the pandemic started. Now experts fear that the situation is going to get even worse.
Washington Post: ‘Cries for help’ Drug overdoses are soaring during the coronavirus pandemic
American Heart Association News: COVID-19 pandemic brings new concerns about excessive drinking
3. Too Afraid to Go
Bridge: Large jump in Michigan deaths outside hospitals as coronavirus raged
Washington Post: Heart conditions drove spike in deaths beyond those attributed to Covid-19, analysis shows
4. Pandemic Reruns
Washington Post: In 1918, Americans were asked to wear masks. Some refused — and paid the price.
Washington Post: From yellow fever to coronavirus, keeping the mail safe
Smithsonian Magazine: How the U.S. Fought the 1957 Flu Pandemic
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
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