Experts warn of Covid-19 pandemic fatigue

CAPE TOWN- Since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, people’s lives across the globe have been impacted. For months, the public has been asked to wear masks, sanitize, stay away from loved ones, and avoid public places in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

Researchers and experts have studied how the pandemic has led to day-to-day significant existential stress associated with the loss of colleagues or loved ones, the onset of other health-related problems, financial problems and depression.

Fatigue has been listed as one of the symptoms of Covid-19, as it can be a symptom of a physical disease, however, it could also be a manifestation of an underlying psychological issue, or both.

Pandemic fatigue can be defined as a general weariness and exhaustion due to the Covid-19 measures put in place to contain the spread of the virus. This can result in fewer people strictly adhering to the non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI) such as social distancing, wearing a mask and sanitising hands.

Western Cape Health spokesperson Maret Lesch told to Cape Argus that a second wave of Covid-19 infection remains a possibility and people should not let their guard down as more people return to work where a higher density of people are congregating.

“Our hotspot containment and behaviour change strategies also continue, ensuring that we slow and contain the spread of the virus across our province. Our best defence against new infections remains in changing our behaviour and observing safety precautions, such as wearing our masks, physical distancing, and handwashing,” said Lesch.

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A study conducted in Turkey investigated the association between the Covid-19 pandemic and psychological fatigue as a mental health issue among the country’s population.

A Covid-19 knowledge questionnaire was developed by the authors and 3 672 people completed the questionnaire. 64 percent of participants were categorized as psychologically fatigued and 36 percent as normal. The significant difference between fatigued and normal participants occurred when participants differed in age, educational level, occupational status, place of residence and number of family members.

Results showed that men between the ages of 30-39, with university degrees living in an urban city with more than five family members were hardest hit by phycological fatigue.

Authors of the study said that fatigue can negatively affect a persons’ physical and psychological well-being and long-term fatigue could lead to psychiatric illnesses, particularly depression.

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