Pandemic fatigue is real and must be acknowledged
Donovan Wilson – Reporter
Pandemic fatigue is a completely new concept in our society, but definitely one worth paying attention to as COVID-19 numbers keep rising once again.
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily Rosenthal, head of the campus contact tracing team part of the COVID-19 task force here.While speaking on the rise of COVID-19 numbers, I learned about the unique and new phenomenon of pandemic fatigue. This was something I hadn’t heard of before but instantly made sense to me.
So, what exactly is pandemic fatigue? It is a feeling very similar to depression, triggered from the intense emotions caused by the current times. Another term used is COVID-19 burnout, as that’s essentially what it is; becoming exhausted from living with the virus.
I feel it is important that we pay attention to this phenomenon, but we need to stop acting like it’s this unique cutesy little COVID-19 thing.
This isn’t some sort of just a new thing. This is very much the early signs of depression being brought on by the intense emotions caused by the current pandemic. We need to treat it like it has long-term effects rather than like a trend.
The major symptomatic feelings of pandemic fatigue include feelings of helplessness, sadness, worryness, frustration, and irritability. As someone who has grown up around many people who have depression and even anxiety, it’s clear that this is much closer to feeling depressed or even seasonal depression rather than some sort of new phenomenon. Let’s not beat around the bush with these young kids and tell them exactly what they’re feeling.
The whole label of “pandemic fatigue” feels more like a marketing ploy from companies. As fear lessens on the actual entity of COVID-19 but the quarantine rages on, these companies and their marketing teams need something new to fixate on. Depression is an old concept; you can’t profit off of that, but can profit off of something new and exciting and best of all, scary.
I may be looking too much into this and seeing it as more than it is, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it adds to the mental health stigma. It tries to normalize it so much to the point where it feels like a joke or just merely insignificant. Mental health is a more important issue now than ever and now is not the time to lose our vigilance.
In the end of it all, maybe this whole concept is just a passing trend. Maybe by the time this article publishes, people won’t even care about pandemic fatigue, much less even know what it is.
However, as our world changes very fast nowadays we need to act on things while they happen rather than banking on it being a passing trend. The fact is that right now, vigilance is key. Keep out an open mind but a watching eye.