By Dr. Anthony Policastro

Nowadays its hard to go anywhere without seeing people glued to their phones. A frequent comment from moviegoers is related to that. People often talk on their phones, or play videos on their phones while the movie is running. This creates issues for other moviegoers.

We have seen increased numbers of misbehaving airline passengers. There seems to be a new story every week about an unruly passenger. Music concerts have had a number of objects thrown at performers. Singer Bebe Rexha received stitches to her face when a concertgoer threw a phone at her.

Some of this behavior is related to the typical use of social media. Individuals are quick to express their opinion on every little thing. The result is that it gives them a sense of self importance. If they can do it online, they should be able to do it anywhere. 

There is less need to change your behavior when out in public. The world revolves around you. Therefore, your behavior no matter how outrageous should be acceptable.

You then add to the fact that there were many fewer big events during the COVID epidemic. People stayed at home to stream videos. They didn’t have to go to the movies. Sometimes they streamed those videos on one device while using a second device for simultaneous entertainment. 

When they went back to the movie theater, they had gained new habits of movie watching. They continued to behave much like they did at home. It didn’t matter that there were other people around.

Many individuals have gotten used to commenting on things on social media. Many of those comments are disparaging to others. It provides a kind of freedom to take part in a cancel culture situation.

Those one-on-one habits with your device at home need to stay there. They do not belong at music concerts, airplanes, or anywhere in public.

Unfortunately, there are individuals who still don’t get the fact that you need to behave like a rational human being in public. Your online personality needs to be different than your personality in public when interacting with others.

Like any bad habit, correcting the inappropriate behavior takes time. Also like any other bad habit, the individual has to admit to themselves that they need to break the habit. Sometimes a wake up call like being charged with assault might get their attention. However, it should not have to come to that.

COVID- I recently developed COVID while on a trip to Washington D.C. I had symptoms and asked my wife to go get a test kit. She went to Walgreen’s. They had none. They send her to CVS. They had none. I went to a Kaiser Permanente office and they advised calling a local private pharmacy. They had kits for sale. My test was positive.

When I told my daughters about it, they were surprised because nobody they know tests for COVID any longer. I did not report it to the state.

Bottom line is that there is no way to currently count total COVID cases. In addition, most cases like mine are milder than they were before. Therefore, the only current relevant statistic is hospitalizations from COVID since those are formally reported.