Vaccines and Pandemic Fatigue

As of this writing, the United States has had 31,015,477 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 562,926 deaths. Arkansas alone has had 329,929 cases and 5,595 deaths. 

These are exhausting numbers. We can’t even hold numbers like these in our minds. We don’t see 5,595 things at one time. That’s more people than the population of Prairie Grove. That might help a little with the math, but it doesn’t help much with pandemic fatigue.

What’s pandemic fatigue?

That’s the feeling of just being so over the pandemic. More of us are skipping wearing masks, going to small gatherings and even to large ones, and generally breaking the rules. 

Congressman Bruce Westerman had 10 minutes to speak in a Congressional hearing last week, and he spent more than one of those minutes complaining about having to use a service like Zoom, and saying how much he wished he could just go to hearings in person again.

For many of us, just like Congressman Westerman, we’re just tired of having to follow pandemic rules. We’re tired of thinking about death and danger. We want to go back to school or work or church or restaurants. We want to go grocery shopping, to get back to laundromats, even just to walk in the park without thinking about the risks.

Thinking about big things like a global pandemic is something human beings can do, but it uses up a lot of energy. For some of us, we’re not willing to keep giving the pandemic that much space in our minds. We’re over it.

We’re over the pandemic, but the pandemic isn’t over us

More than 50,000 Americans are getting infected each day, and just about 12% of us in Northwest Arkansas are fully vaccinated. It’s too early to relax.

But we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. “If all goes well, if we stick by the public health measures, if we effectively vaccinate, I think we are looking at a brighter future over the next several months. That’s entirely conceivable and probably likely,” says Dr. Anthony Fauci, perhaps the best-known expert on the subject.

As more of us are fully vaccinated, we have more freedom and flexibility. But we will still need to follow the basic pandemic protocol most of the time:

If we stay strong, we can continue to see the cases and deaths in Arkansas decrease. We can look forward to a safer, more comfortable summer and fall.