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Pandemic Fatigue: It’s Real, and It’s Dangerous

Staying vigilant and practicing simple and basic healthy behaviors are still key to preventing the spread of COVID-19.

Presented by Kaiser Permanente October 26, 2020

Katie Sharff, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente Northwest

Around the world and across the nation, our communities are still facing an unprecedented public health crisis. In just a few months, scientists and clinicians have learned a lot about COVID-19. As work continues to develop and deliver a vaccine, it is more critical than ever that we band together to stay the course in our fight against this pandemic.

“As the pandemic continues with no end in sight, many people have become so tired of being separated from friends and family, or of being so careful all the time, that their social distancing and safety practices have begun to slip a little bit,” says Katie Sharff, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

“It’s important to remember that even though we are tired of the virus, the virus does not have pandemic fatigue,” says Dr. Sharff.

The practical advice for preventing spread hasn’t changed.

It begins with wearing your mask. Nearly half of COVID-19 transmissions are traced to people unaware they are infected. If you are carrying COVID-19 without symptoms, a cloth mask will significantly reduce the risk that you will transmit the disease to others. A mask also reminds you not to touch your face.

Wash your hands regularly and practice healthy hygiene. Washing your hands with soap and water is most effective. When soap and water aren’t available, correctly using an alcohol-based sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you stop the spread of germs.

Stay 6 feet apart. The surest way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance between yourself and those outside your home. Do your best to stay out of crowded spaces and, even with distance, always wear your mask.

Plus, get a flu shot, as flu prevention will be even more important this year. Not only can it help keep you healthy, but it can protect those around you who may be at higher risk for complications.

“It’s a really tough time right now,” says Dr. Sharff. “However, we can’t give up on the behaviors that help keep us safe. We need to keep ourselves safe—but also our families, our loved ones, and our community. We are all in this together.”

Helpful and Healthy Resources

Visit Kaiser Permanente’s coronavirus and COVID-19 resource center for tools and information to help you during the COVID-19 pandemic, including videos and articles on wearing a mask, physical distancing, hygiene, helping your children with school, and coping with loneliness during this challenging time.

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