Social:Pandemic fatigue

From HandWiki
Short description: Psychological phenomenon
Crowds that go against the advice of health officials can be seen during pandemic fatigue. Here, shoppers visit a shopping district in Tokyo despite a stay-at-home advisory during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pandemic fatigue is the state of being worn out by recommended precautions and restrictions relating to a pandemic, often due to the length of the restrictions and lack of activities for one to engage in, resulting in boredom, depression, psychic numbing, and other issues, thereby leading one to abandoning these precautions and risk catching the disease.[1] Pandemic fatigue can be responsible for an increased number of cases.[2]


Social norms

Social norms can have an effect on pandemic fatigue.[3]

Political distrust

Political distrust can have an effect on pandemic fatigue as well. "Crisis fatigue" is the idea the public has become immune to warnings from politicians and distrustful of their claims.[4] The public has been exposed to several crises in the past two decades, including SARS in 2003, bird flu in 2005, swine flu in 2009, MERS in 2012, Ebola in 2014 and currently COVID-19 in 2020-2021.[5] Because of this, some people find it hard to trust political officials and their suggestions on how to treat and manage COVID-19.[6]


Epidemiologist Julia Marcus wrote that indefinite abstention from all social contact was not a sustainable way to contain a pandemic. Drawing from lessons in HIV prevention, she advised a principle of harm reduction rather than an "all-or-nothing approach" in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.[7]


With many countries having a rise in new cases from Variants of SARS-CoV-2, more waves of lockdowns have been put in effect. Countries like the UK have been put back into COVID-19 lockdowns and due to this, many citizens there have been in this state of fatigue and exhaustion. Studies show that people are finding it harder to stay positive, with 60% of citizens in the UK saying they are finding it harder to stay positive daily compared to before the pandemic – an 8-point increase.[8]

Coping methods

One of the major ways with coping with pandemic fatigue is limiting the amount of time you spend on your device. Justin Ross, a psychologist who studies the effects of pandemic fatigue, states that "Doomscrolling, or purposely tuning in to negative stories on TV or on social media, fuels increased dread, uncertainty, anxiety, and fatigue."[9] Another method he found to be very useful in his studies was being active. "If you make movement a priority, you will find a way to make it happen. Prioritizing time to exercise and meditate by putting it in your schedule and protecting that time is going to make a huge difference in your mental health". Other forms of coping include meditation and finding time for yourself to reflect.

COVID-19 pandemic

COVID fatigue is the state of being worn out about the precautionary measures and the threat of COVID-19. Anxiety from the threat of losing economic security and catching the disease both play a part in the feeling of fatigue in people. COVID fatigue has caused people to not follow precautionary guidelines, increasing their risk of catching the virus.[10] Many people are tired of the lockdowns, and not having a normal routine.[11][12] Higher levels of alcohol and drug use also contribute to the feeling of tiredness.[13]

As lockdowns were lifted in many parts of the world, some people started to ignore stay-at-home orders. People went to bars and restaurants, ultimately causing the disease to spread faster.[14]

Zoom fatigue

Zoom fatigue is described as tiredness, anxiety, or worry resulting from overusing virtual videoconferencing platforms.[15] Evidence suggests that being on Zoom calls limits the amount of nonverbal cues our brains pick up in face-to-face interactions. The lack of these cues causes our brains to subconsciously exert more energy, making us feel more irritable and exhausted after video calls are over. Other issues of Zoom include the fact that we are staring at a screen with peoples faces a couple feet away. This leads to a sense of danger and although our body knows we are in a safe place, our mind is on high alert.[15] Treatment for Zoom fatigue is fairly easy. Being able to connect with friends and family over technology that allows for these nonverbal cues (such as VR) works wonders. VR allows for "avatars" to interact with each other and gives the user the sensation that they are actually there, while still maintaining safe distances during lockdowns.

See also


  1. Barnett, Stacy Meichtry, Joanna Sugden and Andrew (October 26, 2020). "Pandemic Fatigue Is Real—And It's Spreading". Wall Street Journal. 
  2. "U.S. Surgeon General Blames 'Pandemic Fatigue' For Recent COVID-19 Surge". 
  3. Maddock, Jay. "Has pandemic fatigue set in? Here's why you might have it". 
  4. "Coronavirus and the politics of crisis fatigue | The Conversation". 
  5. "WHO | Disease outbreaks by year". 
  6. Kriner, Sarah Kreps and Douglas L. (2020-10-30). "Will Americans trust a COVID-19 vaccine? Not if politicians tell them to." (in en-US). 
  7. Marcus, Julia (11 May 2020). "Quarantine Fatigue Is Real". The Atlantic. 
  8. "'Pandemic burnout' on rise as latest Covid lockdowns take toll | The Guardian". 5 February 2021. 
  9. "Are you feeling exhausted, anxious or sad? 5 tips for handling 'pandemic fatigue.' | uchealth". 30 October 2020. 
  10. "'COVID Fatigue' and How to Fight It | AMITA Health Blog" (in en). 
  11. Koplon, Savannah. "How to overcome COVID-19 fatigue". 
  12. Marketing, UC Davis Health, Public Affairs and. ""COVID fatigue" is hitting hard. Fighting it is hard, too, says UC Davis Health psychologist" (in en). 
  13. Authority, University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics. "Managing COVID Fatigue is Crucial to Our Health and Wellbeing During the Pandemic" (in en). 
  14. "How to fight 'Covid fatigue' as America heads for a deadly winter" (in en). 2020-11-22. 
  15. 15.0 15.1 Wiederhold, Brenda K. (18 June 2020). "Connecting Through Technology During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic: Avoiding "Zoom Fatigue" | Cyberpsychology". Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 23 (7): 437–438. doi:10.1089/cyber.2020.29188.bkw. PMID 32551981.