Graphic by Gabriella Gerig ’23
Social distancing, masks, online school, lockdowns, quarantining and the inability to see loved ones is nothing less than draining. It is understandable that people are becoming exhausted with their current state of life and the repressive nature of COVID-19 regulations.
March marks a year since the first major surge of the Coronavirus ravaged the United States. As it continues to drag on, many people have become less fearful of the virus and more tired of the restrictions that dictate their lives. Despite this collective fatigue, it is crucial that people do not give into the urge to stop being responsible as the pandemic hopefully nears an end.
Many people are struggling with their mental, emotional and physical health during such debilitating times. This constant feeling of uncertainty, isolation, stress and anxiety can be overwhelming. For many, it feels like there is little end in sight. This can create a lack of motivation and feelings of perpetual exhaustion.
Pandemic fatigue has hit students especially hard. Teenagers are being robbed of a normal school experience and social interaction with their peers. This can lead to symptoms of depression, frustration and increased anger. These unbearable feelings translate into a person’s resentment of safety precautions. I am just one out of many that have experienced the destructive qualities of the pandemic this year. I find myself procrastinating more and concentrating less. I feel more stressed out and down on a daily basis. It is becoming more enticing to throw caution to the wind despite better judgment. This seems to be a common theme among most people.
Fatigue is turning into action. Multiple states like Texas, Mississippi and Iowa are lifting mask mandates and significantly relaxing COVID-19 restrictions. Connecticut is easing strict regulations by lifting the capacity limits on restaurants, personal services, libraries, retail, indoor recreation, fitness centers, offices and places of worship. Connecticut’s decision is justified because of the successful vaccine rollout and low community spread. However, taking extreme measures too soon, such as removing the mask mandate, is both premature and reckless.
There are ways to manage pandemic fatigue while continuing to contain the spread of the virus. It is important to find ways to relax, stay active, spend time with family and friends safely and take time away from electronics. UCDavis Health, EverydayHealth and other health organizations provide lists of ideas to cope with stress.
We are making our way to the home stretch of this battle. The fight against the pandemic is a collective group process. Every person and every state needs to play their part. As such, it is irresponsible and illogical to risk undoing the progress we have made. As tempting as it is to rip off the masks, easing restrictions impulsively could end up resulting in another major outbreak of COVID-19.