Pandemic Fatigue: What Is It And How Do We Fight It?


Tucker Wile, Journalist

As we approach the one year anniversary of the pandemic, it may feel like it’s never going to end. Everyone’s kind of over it, and we just want to go back and live our normal lives. This feeling is called pandemic fatigue, and we need to fight it. After being in the pandemic for so long, people just stop caring about safety mitigations and go back to living their old life. This kind of reckless behavior is what prolongs the pandemic and possibly gets people killed.

Remember in April of last year, when cases really started to surge, and everyone was extremely careful about everything? New cases hit around 30,000 per day for a couple of weeks in the US according to the New York Times. In January, people kind of stopped caring about the pandemic, but you know how many cases there were? At its peak, on January 8, 2021, there were 300,619 cases. That’s 10 times as many new cases, and people don’t really bat an eye like they used to. 

This whole winter, new cases never dropped below 100,000 per day. Deaths were also higher this winter than they were during that first major spike. In April, the deaths hit a peak of 2,752 on April 15, 2020 in the US, throughout the entire month of January, the deaths on average stayed at around 3,000 per day, and peaked on February 12, 2021, where 5,463 people died.

All these statistics are telling us that the pandemic was much worse more recently than it was in April, when everyone was cooped up in their homes in fear of contracting the virus. We need to get back into that mentality to try and take down this virus.

Now that the weather’s getting warmer, and we all want to go outside and do things with our friends and family, we need to remember to stay safe while doing this. Our high school nurse, Paula Butt, who has worked on the front lines in hospitals treating COVID patients, says that we can stay social while also being safe, but we need to “follow the CDC and board of health guidelines. Maintain a distance of 6 feet, wear a mask, wash your hands, and limit your “circle” of people.” She understands that, “The pandemic has affected people’s social lives immensely,” and that “technology has been able to keep people socially together while distantly safe.” 

She has a message for everyone, which is, “I don’t want to be in a mask and not see family anymore than everyone else, but I have also seen first hand the devastation on COVID and the effects it has on families while working front line in the hospital giving direct patient care to COVID patients. It’s exhausting-mentally, physically, and emotionally-but we are so close and we can all do this if we work together and follow the guidelines in place.”

Another factor of pandemic fatigue is that people are starting to struggle with their mental health. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 27.8% of adults showed symptoms of depression, compared to 8.5% of adults before the pandemic. People are finding it hard to stay positive during the pandemic, and they are starting to ignore the safety mitigations because they can’t handle them. 

Noah Kravitz, who is an advocate for mental health, and an aspiring therapist, said that, “Everyone’s mental health has been affected from the pandemic by feeling isolated. …We can’t really hang out with our friends as much which can bring up the feeling of loneliness and feeling empty.” He gave some strategies for staying positive, where are “reminding myself that it is okay not to be okay and have bad days.” He has also said that, “It feels really good to focus on a goal,” which for him has been working out.

His message for people struggling with mental health is, “you are not alone. …We are all going through this together. Take care of yourself in any way you can. …I love you all and please stay safe.”

Even though we have been in this pandemic for a while, now is not the time to stop caring, even though there is a vaccine. Everyone still needs to take the necessary precautions and stay safe. It may be hard, but we need to stay vigilant.