Published: 30th March 2021
What the FAQ: What is pandemic fatigue and is it the reason for the recent COVID spikes?
Is pandemic fatigue the reason why COVID cases are on a high again? Experts seem to think so, we find out why
It has now been a year since India imposed the lockdown and just as people were beginning to feel like COVID was making its exit, the cases are now climbing up the charts again. With the vaccines too, it felt like COVID was easier to combat. Researchers are now saying that the reason why the cases are going up again is because of ‘pandemic fatigue’ or ‘COVID fatigue’. But what does it mean?
What is pandemic fatigue?
Pandemic fatigue is causing people to start ignoring social distancing measures, experts are saying. Since vaccination efforts are also underway, people are now relaxing when it comes to following COVID protocols. Just like regular fatigue, pandemic fatigue also emerges from the exhaustion of doing the same work over and over again
Why is it the government’s biggest challenge?
Governments are back to imposing lockdowns, restricting movements, making strict rules about social distancing and following all the COVID protocols. But their biggest task is tackling pandemic fatigue, experts say because people are tired of all the rules. Sanitising surfaces, using sanitisers, wearing masks and remembering to maintain social distances is all getting too tiring for people. They want to get back normalcy in their lives.
Are experts saying this is the main reason for the spike in cases?
According to a report in TNIE, an expert medical committee and Chennai corporation staff, who have been on the field since the beginning of the pandemic feel this is the reason for the recent spike. After over a year of rigorously sticking to COVID etiquettes, city residents may now have dropped guard, they said. It was due to Covid preventive measures in the first half of 2020 that the public was able to reap its dividends in the latter part of the year, an expert told TNIE.
How do we tackle pandemic fatigue?
Life during the pandemic is brimming with tasks requiring control and mental effort, and so the widespread subjective experience of mental exhaustion is not surprising. An article in the Scientific American says that addressing pandemic fatigue requires ‘a robust and multipronged response that addresses not only the political and social aspects but also motivation in terms of costs and benefits of mitigation behaviours’.