This is not an original term coined by me. We, as nurses, along with other healthcare professionals, and probably the rest of the world are suffering from what I call “COVID FATIGUE.”
The first COVID19 death occurred in the San Francisco Bay area in early February 2019. We did not know about it then. Suddenly, in early March 2020, we were assaulted on television, radio, social media, newspaper, by a mysterious virus that was killing people in the US and around the world. There was no cure, no vaccine, and no treatment. We did not know where COVID19 came from, how to prevent it or how to treat it. We watched as body bags were placed in refrigerator trucks in New York City because their Medical Examiner’s Office was overwhelmed.
We, as Americans, watched as COVID19 marched across the USA. Schools, churches, restaurants, hair salons, and other businesses that we took for granted, suddenly closed. We had to wear masks everywhere we went. People were hoarding toilet paper, laundry detergent and all manner of other things. Our way of life changed dramatically, many wondered, “would it be changed forever?” We began to experience what I call COVID FATIGUE.
I am not suggesting that COVID FATIGUE is particular to nurses or healthcare professionals; it is a shared phenomenon, shared by us all.
Most of us in healthcare spent thirteen months watching people flaunt the “new rules.” We watched the COVID19 numbers go up after Mother’s Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Many of us could see the effects of these traditions as we performed contact tracing for hours each day. We lost family, friends, colleagues and we saw people whose lives would never be the same. The COVID FATIGUE increased.
We saw the COVID19 Vaccines arrive, many of us were vaccinated and we vaccinated others. We wondered ‘is this going to work, will I be protected, will my loved ones be protected.’ Still we worried, still we contact traced. Again, COVID FATIGUE increased.
The COVID19 numbers decreased. We wonder why did they decrease? Was it the masks, the social distancing, the vaccines? We still do not know.
On March 7, 2021 approximately one year after most of us learned about COIVD19, Greg Abbott, the Governor of Texas, issued Executive Order GA-34 (https://gov.texas.gov/news/post/governor-abbott-lifts-mask-mandate-opens-texas-100-percent) stating he has “opened Texas 100 percent.” If you read his Proclamation, the numbers do not add up.
There are stipulations within the Proclamation allowing the County Judges to reinstate mitigating measures based on the COVID numbers in the State and in each county.
No doubt, the Governor has the authority to make this Proclamation, but should he? Should he lift all the precautions we have been practicing for a year in one felled swoop?
Do we, and furthermore should we, leave our health and the health of those we love and those we care for in the hands of Governors, Attorney and Judges? I do not know about the rest of the population but as someone who has been an RN for 40+ years, in love with the art and science of nursing and taught Epidemiology, my COVID FATIGUE has only increased by the actions of our Governor.
Governor Abbott, yesterday there were over 2500 cases of COVID19 in my county, isn’t that enough?
by- Cynthia Stevens, M.S.R.N, School Nurse