Coronavirus digital discussion: Pandemic fatigue


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – In the early days of the pandemic, we saw teddy bears in windows and scavenger hunts for kids. Care baskets were delivered to hospital staff and there was a prevailing feeling that we were all in this together. Now, most people are just tired. Something called “pandemic fatigue” has set in and it worries public health experts.

“The concern is if we let our guard down and don’t do masking and distancing and handwashing and continue with the precautions that have been successful in so many places around the world then we’re going to run the risk that this just gets out of control,” Dr. Brian Martin told

Martin is director of the Masters in Public Health program at Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS). He told that while other parts of the country are seeing new daily coronavirus cases rising to record levels Hampton Roads is not seeing a surge.

He also confirmed that while more people are being diagnosed, fewer are dying from the coronavirus.

“Even though we’ve seen a rise in the number of cases, we’ve seen a decrease in the number of hospitalizations in October for example compared to March and April,” he said.

That is because we are learning better ways to treat the virus and have more tools in the fight.

Again, leading some to say ‘It’s time to get back out there!’ After all, we are suffering in so many other areas, mental health, domestic violence, educating our children.

Martin’s response, “So there’s a lot of things here, public health issues we need to keep in mind. However, we do know when it comes to this particular virus that we absolutely have to protect our vulnerable populations.” He said that wearing masks and social distancing are still the way to do that.

Martin contends what we need is to find hope again and he believes we should have hope in science and a vaccine, while keeping in mind we are making these sacrifices to protect others.

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