Fear During Pandemic More Significant Than the Virus Itself: Psychiatrist Mark McDonald


Dr. Mark McDonald, author of “United States of Fear,” in Los Angeles, Calif., on March 26, 2022. (York Du/The Epoch Times)

The Epoch Times

By Masooma Haq and Jan Jekielek

As we pass the two-year mark of when the pandemic started and assess the impact COVID-19 and mandates have had on public health, psychiatrist and author of “United States of Fear: How America Fell Victim to a Mass Delusional Psychosis” Dr. Mark McDonald says the “pandemic of fear” has been far more significant then COVID-19 itself.

“I know that the pandemic of fear has been singularly far more important than any core medical viral crisis that we’ve been informed about from the very, very beginning,” McDonald told host of American Thought Leaders Jan Jekielek during a recent interview.

“If you actually look at raw data in terms of deaths, looking at the CDC’s own data, 94 percent of all of the recorded deaths were of people who were suffering from three or four significant, serious comorbidities, and the average age of death actually exceeds the average lifespan of the American citizen.”

Worse yet were the deaths caused by drug use, from the inability to get medical treatments, and from depression ramped up.

“The number of people who have died in the last year just of drug overdose has now exceeded 100,000 Americans. One year. It’s never happened before—100,000, just in drug overdoses. The increase of cancer, the increased incidence of heart disease, the increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicide—they’re through the roof.”

To McDonald’s point, researchers at the University of California (UCLA) used the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database to calculate drug overdose deaths per population of 100,000 for adolescents aged 14 to 18 years that occurred from January 2010 to June 2021. They found the death rate was 2.4 per 100,000 (518 deaths) up until 2019, but in 2020 it went to 4.57 per 100,000, rising to 1,146 deaths in early 2021.

McDonald argues that the public has gone along with the often irrational mandates because they are afraid and led by their emotions.

“My view is that people, Americans, largely speaking, became irrational, regardless of whether what they’re being told is true or not. That’s not the point. They became irrational and they started to follow orders because they were scared. I believe that fear is really the mechanism by which people lost their ability to think rationally.”

Although most mask mandates and social distancing measures are lifted, McDonald believes people have been permanently affected by the fear messaging that they lived with during the pandemic and now many people are programmed to keep living with these personal restrictions because it makes them feel safe.

As an example, he cited students who want forced masking back in their classrooms, or the parents who want to continue masking in schools even though the type of masks worn by students did not stop transmission.

“Regarding masking before March of 2020, there was not one serious scientific study anywhere in the world—not one—that had actually shown that masks, when worn outside of medical settings, helped protect anyone from the transmission of a respiratory illness. Not one.”

McDonald said these pro-masking “studies” showed up after the mandates to convince people that wearing masks had benefits. “And even the ones that showed up were not actual real studies of in vivo masking. They were all theoretical. They were all program studies. They were projections. They were conjectures.”

In addition, because of fear of public reaction, people are unable to speak up even when they can see the truth, he added.

“I think we’re actually entering into a kind of twisted altered reality, similar to the story of ‘the emperor has no clothes.’ We all see the emperor is naked, we all know it. But we look around, and everyone is complimenting the fine silk fibers that drape his body and we think, ‘gosh, well, they all seem to be seeing something else, so I guess I’ll go along with it.’”

Most people know what is rational and know what a woman is, he said, referencing Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s unwillingness to define what a “woman” is during her confirmation hearing in March, but are afraid of ridicule.

“We’re afraid to actually say it because we’re afraid of being called a misogynist, a patriarch, toxic masculinity, or a woman who doesn’t stand up for women, an anti-feminist. There’s a lot of fear, I believe, that is censoring our public discourse. It’s censoring our confidence in being able to actually state what is real.”

Epoch Times Photo
Travelers wear masks as they wait at the American Airlines ticket counter in Terminal 3 at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago on June 16, 2020. (Nam Y. Huh/AP Photo)

McDonald had harsh words for what he called the failure of the media, saying that the news coverage about the pandemic was designed to encourage the government’s mandates and vaccination campaign, but it was not balanced.

“They picked and chose information that helped to ensure compliance and obedience with government mandates. That’s essentially all that they did for over two years,” said McDonald.

“I don’t think Americans were able to make their own decisions unless they sought out alternative sources of information, which, as we all know, were not only difficult to find. They were being actively censored and maimed by false allegations of misinformation, lying, and fear-mongering.”

Most government officials are calculating their pandemic policy decisions based on fear too and trying to keep the mob from coming after them, he said.

“They’re not calculating ‘what is the public benefit in the decisions I’m making,’ what they’re calculating is, ‘to what degree will the media and the extreme mobs come after me?’”

“Now that the government, corporations, media all know that we will simply follow blindly whatever they tell us, what’s going to be the next stage? This is what really concerns me. We’re not moving forward, we are just in a holding pattern for the next crisis.”

Epoch Times Photo
The CNN center is seen in downtown Atlanta, Ga., on Oct. 16, 2021. (Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images)

Overcoming the Fear

People first need to acknowledge they are living in fear and that they need help, said McDonald. His view is that only after that occurs could a therapist help, and said fearfulness needs to be treated as an addiction, but first the patient needs to understand its negative impact on their lives.

“Each individual has to face it, has to confront it and move forward on his or her own,” he said.

“But I tell them that for us to work together successfully, we have to start from the same reality. If the world that I live in and the world that you live in are completely different, if there’s absolutely no overlap, there’s no way for us to even talk about things.”

McDonald said he is writing a second book called “Freedom From Fear, A 12 Step Guide to an Individual and National Recovery,” and he is “using the addiction model to describe the fear and how to treat it.”

The first step to recovering from fear is to acknowledge that you are afraid and that you might have made some mistakes because of it, he continued.

woman talking to therapist
A woman listens to another. (wavebreakmedia/Shutterstock)

“There’s nothing wrong with that. Fear is not a good thing or a bad thing. But if it drives your actions, and then, of course, determines or writes your thoughts for you, now you’re simply being controlled by a feeling,” he said.

“But you have to be the one to determine your direction, and not your feeling, not your heart, but your mind. That’s so important. I don’t want people to agree with me. I’m not trying to get people to come around to my point of view, that’s not my goal. My goal is to get people to think for themselves.”

He suggests not watching or listening to news that reinforces the fear, and instead going outside and spending time with people who are not so afraid.

“Moving forward means holding yourself accountable, fully, without excuses, without rationalizations. That is the sign of maturity. It’s the sign of development. It’s the only way for you to actually grow and become a better person.”