Pandemic anxiety returns amid COVID-19 setbacks, mask recommendations in Bay Area

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. (KGO) -- As talk ramps up of possible mask mandates and the number of COVID-19 cases increasing, people are starting to feel down.

"People are feeling anxious of -- is this really happening again? What does this mean? How long will this be? Are we going to keep going back and forth? People are also depressed. They're feeling hopeless," said Clinical Psychologist and Founder and Director of Therapy Now SF Andrea Zorbas.

She said she is not surprised, pointing out people were clinging to hope after we started making progress against the virus.

"We are right back to where we started with that COVID anxiety."

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She says her colleagues are feeling it, too. There are talks of shutting down and going back to Zoom.

"We are in the process of thinking, do we not see people in person anymore?" she said.

Health officials are in the process of considering bringing back mask mandates, even for the vaccinated.

But do people think we need a mask mandate? Here is a sample of what ABC7 News heard Thursday morning out on the streets.

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"I feel like everything should be optional. We shouldn't be forced to do something we don't want to do," said Wayne Corbin of Oakland

"If people don't want to put it on, yes we do need a mandate," said Farnaz Zahedi, a nurse in Walnut Creek.

Agree with a mandate or not, we did not hear from anyone who would refuse to comply.

"I'll do whatever they say to do. I personally think we could take them off. It's going to be around forever, like every other disease. If that's what they want us to do, I'll respect it," Josiah Davis said

"If the cases are going up, then wear the masks. It's not that big of a deal," said Wayne Malmgren.

"It's for me and the people around me. Everyone has a right to be healthy," said Zahedi.

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If you are feeling depressed, Dr. Zorbas says it is important to focus on what you can control.

"That means maybe masking indoors again as recommended by the CDC. Does it make sense for you to get vaccinated? Continue to be careful and follow guidelines. Also, try to be positive. Nothing lasts forever. Things will look different, yes. It will take time. So- what do I need to do in the meantime to take care of myself?"

Masks are currently recommended indoors, even for the vaccinated, but not required. Many Bay Area health officials and some politicians have said a mask mandate is likely coming, possibly by next week.

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