FOMO, meet FOGO.
The “fear of missing out” has been replaced by the “fear of going out,” thanks to the coronavirus.
As states across the country begin to reopen, people can once again eat at restaurants, get their hair cut and go shopping. Although many are taking advantage of their newfound freedom, some are justifiably not, argues a new Forbes article that popularized the “FOGO” phrase. The Times of London also ran a piece on the term in May.
The reasons vary from one person to another, according to Forbes contributor Jodie Cook, and can be about both health concerns and dreading the return to life’s hustle and bustle.
“Now there [is] a genuine fear of going out, and we’re truly better off staying in. It’s transpired that lockdown has taught us much about our true selves,” Cook wrote. “Fear of catching a deadly virus is one thing and apprehension about re-entering society may be another. But lockdown has given us a break from the endless pressure to engage, perform, go out and be the person our networks expect us to be.”
There’s ample reason to be afraid. A second wave of COVID-19 infections is hitting states like Florida, Texas and Arizona, which were some of the first in the nation to shed protective stay-at-home regulations. Hospitalizations in Texas jumped 6.3% from Monday to Tuesday. Florida saw 8,553 new cases this week, their highest weekly number yet.
Although 91% of Americans avoided traveling by train, plane, bus or subway in late March and early April, that number dipped to 74% in late May, according to a Gallup poll. People are also less likely to avoid going to public places, like stores or restaurants: The percentage of Americans avoiding those shops decreased from 79% to 56% in the same time frame.
Daily Beast editor at large Molly Jong-Fast tweeted about the term in late May. “So we went from Fomo to fogo in a little less than 90 days,” she wrote.
Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager were quick to weigh in on the new phrase on the “Today” show. “I do get a little bit of that sometimes,” said Kotb. “I went out with the kids to mail a letter and then to walk to a restaurant that’s now open in our area, it’s only outdoor seating. You just don’t realize how many people are coming up to chat and don’t have masks on, and you start to get that kind of anxiety.”
“I, too, have FOGO. Grocery store used be fun, catching up with folks. Now it’s get in, get out. ASAP. I seriously think about how many folks may be developing agoraphobia,” said @eileenwh, referring to the fear of crowded or enclosed public spaces.
“My wife Julia is like that,” wrote one Twitter user, about the slang. “Shes rather ‘petrified.’ ”
“FORGEDDABOUDIT I’m not leaving the house again and it’s not entirely because I no longer have trousers that fit,” quipped another.
“I’m good at just walking around my block to get some air. But when I think about going inside places and taking care of a couple of errands? I get anxious. It will get better,” tweeted @SarahHeartsNYC.
It should be noted that the word “fogo” also means “fire” in Portuguese.
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