Psychologist calls holiday partygoers selfish after spike in COVID-19 cases
BROWN-EARLE...it's selfish behaviour, you're drinking, you're holding bottles and food plates that other people have touched

A leading psychologist has labelled the behaviour of Jamaicans who attended parties while ignoring COVID-19 protocols over the Yuletide season as selfish.

Professor of psychology at Northern Caribbean University Dr Orlean Brown-Earle also believes that such people are unconcerned with the greater good of the nation.

“They are there partying, but they are going back home. A lot of them don't live alone. It's selfish behaviour; you're drinking, you're holding bottles and food plates that other people have touched, you're maskless, then you go back home to your grandmother, your parents, your children. That is just selfish behaviour. You're not thinking about the greater good or the bigger picture,” Brown-Earle told the Jamaica Observer.

Adding that, because the Government had finally relaxed the curfew hours over the holidays by allowing the public to be out until 1:00 am for Christmas and New Year's Day, and it is only naturally that people would abuse it, Brown-Earle said, “them [the Government] fly the gate, so people just going to go out and have fun, not thinking of the side effects”.

She also said that, in order for the Government to get the public to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols implemented to fight the spread of the virus ravaging the country, they need to appeal to the emotions of people.

“You really want people to think about what is the greater good in all of this. Who benefits when I follow the rules, when I social distance, when I wear my masks, when I sanitise? And who benefits is the nation,” the psychologist asked.

“Just keep on continuously sharing information. Keep bombarding people with what's happening, how it's affecting people, and how it appeals to their emotions and sensibility. Because they have been educated, the information is out there. So, to me right now, I think it's about appealing to their emotions by using the facts,” Brown-Earle continued.

Explaining that the information that the Government should be providing should be graphic enough to jolt people out of their so-called COVID-19 fatigue, Brown-Earle noted that, as humans, when people see physical symptoms, such as sores or people coughing up blood, they tend to be more scared, and therefore, are more likely to act to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Using the HIV crisis in Jamaica as an example of how the right information and imagery can impact how the public reacts to these dangers, Brown-Earle said, “When HIV just came out, they showed some really scary pictures of people because at that time they didn't have a lot of medication. That time when people went into the hospitals they were scrawny [with] sores, and people behaved themselves by the time the medicine came in.”

However, Brown-Earle said people are tired of hearing about wearing masks and sanitising.

“The whole thing of wearing masks and other people are not wearing it and they are not getting sick either, so why should I? It's like they just can't bother anymore because they can't see the purpose of it. Sometimes some of us only jolted out of the fatigue when somebody they know personally died. So, if they hear that their cousin died from COVID, then they probably put on the mask for the next couple of days until things calm down again. COVID fatigue is real,” Brown-Earle stated.

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