Breaking down ‘COVID Fatigue’

Local News

COVID Fatigue — It’s a term that’s popping up during the pandemic. Local experts say it’s impacting those on and off the frontlines. It’s something they say people need to continue to fight, too. 

For those on the frontlines, the pandemic hits hard. Janet Hill, the COO of the Rock Island County Health Dept. said they’ve been working nonstop. 

“7 days a week for 9 months now. We’re also doing it under extraordinary stress,” she said.  

That added stress is caused by spikes in cases. 

“Everytime we see a spike in cases, that’s a spike in contact tracing,” she said.

UC Davis Health explains COVID fatigue as being tired of being cooped up, careful and scared of the impacts of the virus. For healthcare workers, Hill said it’s the feeling of being burnt out. 

“The emergency workers, the hospitals, the doctors and nurses, all the staff at doctor’s offices — I know that they are running ragged,” she said. 

Experts say that COVID fatigue can impact people in different ways. Not just the frontline workers, but people at home, too. Some are being less diligent with social distancing, wearing masks and following the CDC’s guidelines for gatherings due to the burn out. 

Steve Kopp, the director of psychology for Genesis Health System, says people are feeling weighed down by restrictions.  

“I don’t think there’s too many people out there right now that don’t even kind of understand the term from a real life perspective at this point,” he said. “Some of that cabin fever, the weather changes aren’t helping any of that.” 

He said focusing on self-care could help. 

“Take time to do at least one thing for yourself everyday,” he said. 

He also recommends focusing on what you can control as opposed to what you can’t during this time, alongside getting outside when possible, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep. But, he said being kind to yourself is important, too. 

“If you need a Snickers bar, don’t think about the extra calories. Allow yourself to enjoy some of those creature comforts,” he said.  

Hill is reminding people to stay focused on stopping the spread. 

“When people disregard public health guidance, that is extremely risky behavior that can put not only themselves and their family, but their entire community at risk,” she said. 

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