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Pandemic fatigue one reason for rising COVID-19 numbers

Pandemic fatigue

You might be tired of wearing a face covering, but health experts warn it's one of the few effective ways to slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

Many cities, counties, and states are reporting a rise in COVID-19 case numbers. Pandemic fatigue might be one reason.

“What we’re seeing is people are getting tired of masks and social distancing,” said Dr. Jules Madrigal, the Burnet County local health authority. “You see that the numbers (of COVID-19 cases) are going up, and part of the reason is because they’re not wearing masks and they’re tired of it.”

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Burnet County had 854 total confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 99 active cases as of Monday, Oct. 19. Llano County had 165 total confirmed cases and 31 active cases as of that same day.

The numbers aren’t out of control, but Burnet County has seen upticks in cases, including a rise from 810 on Oct. 13 to 842 on Oct. 15. 

Madrigal said this could be the result of people not wearing face coverings.

“We do see a big correlation between people who are not wearing masks and catching (COVID),” Madrigal added. 

Officials are seeing social distancing fatigue as well.

“People want to get married and they need to go to funerals, and I want them to. Those are important. We all want to be around others,” she said. “When people are at these types of events, they have to take their masks off to eat, and that increases the chance of spreading the disease.”

During a recent banquet, a group of people were gathered at one table where at least one person had COVID-19. That exposure led to everyone at the table contracting the disease, Madrigal said.

Social distancing and face coverings, along with other COVID-19 health and safety protocols, were implemented to help slow the spread of the virus and reduce the number of people requiring hospital treatment in a short period of time. 

“We wanted to flatten the curve, and we’ve done a good job at that,” Madrigal said. 

Flattening the curve, however, doesn’t mean the disease has become less of a threat. It’s still very much with us and will likely be so for some time, Madrigal warned. 

And doctors and researchers are seeing long-term issues caused by the disease. Madrigal said a study recently released showed that teens and children could suffer long-term cardiovascular impact from COVID-19. About 15 percent of the youths in the study who had COVID — some were asymptotic — contracted myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, or pericarditis, an inflammation of the covering of the heart. 

The American Association of Pediatrics updated its guidance to doctors regarding COVID-19.

“Much remains unknown about COVID-19 and its transmission, but new research continues to inform experts. AAP, in the first update to guidance since July 23, factors in growing evidence that the virus can cause severe damage to the heart,” according to an AAP media release from September. 

The AAP’s recommendation particularly targets young people who participate in athletics.

“We thought kids with COVID were ‘one and done,’” Madrigal said, “but it looks like about 15 percent of them could see long-term problems. “It’s just not fair.”

While face covering and social distancing fatigue is understandable, Madrigal said continuing to adhere to these practices and other Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations is still the best way to slow the spread.

“Until we get vaccine,” she added.

4 thoughts on “Pandemic fatigue one reason for rising COVID-19 numbers

  1. Short Term Rentals … maybe Burnet County should a little closer to all these short term rentals. I Iive next door to a “party house” on the lake, sleeps 20. Friday, October 16, 2020 .. huge young party next to me. The next morning, Saturday, there was trash, cups and “masks” all over the place street side, the trucks and cars had masks hanging from their vehicles. None of these young people were wearing masks… but their vehicles were !!!!

  2. Correction per the AAP :
    ““There is emerging, but limited evidence that COVID-19 can cause myocarditis in individuals, even asymptomatic individuals,” Briskin told Healio.”

    They also state that its a viral myocarditis, but not permanent:
    “Before returning to play, children who experienced severe presentations of COVID-19 or who had multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) “must be treated as though they have myocarditis and restricted from exercise and participation for a duration of 3 to 6 months,” and their cardiac testing must have returned to normal before they can return to playing sports, according to the AAP guidance… So, we assume that an athlete may have viral myocarditis.”

  3. I thought it was mask up to keep from spreading it if you had it, not to prevent catching it.

  4. As a charter member of the high-risk group, my wife and I keep up on our discipline re COVID-19 restrictions. In late January, we were using N-95 masks, shelter in place, etc. Lately, we use cloth masks in controlled situations. If visiting a medical-dental-open crowd situation, we revert to full precautions. We are often the only two people doing anything, even simple masking or distancing.

    We get the ‘odd looks,’ negative comments, occasional verbal attacks, and/or refusal to respect distancing. We try to be polite and respectful most of the time. If necessary, I enforce distancing with my cane. When shopping when curb-side is insufficient, my wife uses a shopping cart to defend her space.

    If I were writing an Op-Ed, the title would be “Virus Protective Steps Are Temporary, BEING DEAD IS PERMANENT!” To date, the country has incurred 228,000 fatalities, at a rate/day that exceeds both traffic and cancer deaths. The average/day is 61,000 new cases, 700 deaths, as of today, 2.8 million active infections, that will likely add another 73,000 deaths. Why people choose to ignore simple precautions is like playing Russian Roulette with an automatic pistol! One ‘shot’ and they could be just another statistic.

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