'FOGO' is a real thing, spawned by COVID-19 pandemic

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — It’s called “Fear of Going Out,” or FOGO.

And it’s a real condition under the category of anxiety that’s been spawned by the COVID-19 pandemic and our response to it.

Ann Rosen Spector is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Philadelphia.

She said she’s been speaking via Zoom with clients about it at all hours of the day and night since the coronavirus lockdowns began in March.

“People like control and certainty and under the pandemic, we don’t have it, and even more importantly, we’re not going to get it,” Spector said.

She said people are still very much afraid of the virus, even though the region is slowly reopening businesses, restaurants and shopping malls.

“We don’t know how many people have it,” Spector said. “We don’t know if we’ve had it, for most of us. And therefore we don’t know if we’re going to get it.

“People are scared about their own health. They’re scared about other people’s health. They’re scared about getting groceries. They’ve living alone. They’re living with people that they’re not sure that they like. Life is very difficult because it’s very scary.”

Spector said she hasn’t seen anything like this in her 40 years in professional practice.

And she conceded it’s difficult to advise clients other than to help them decide how to prepare themselves to leave their home, apartment or condo.

“I don’t think you can say to anybody this is safe, this is unsafe,” Spector said. “You have to decide how much risk you’re willing to take.”