Sunday, December 27, 2020

Pandemic Fatigue Threaten Recovery

One of the most challenging symptoms that physicians and patients grapple with is fatigue.  It is exceedingly common and elusive.   In general, medical studies do not identify a cause and the symptom remains unexplained.  And, failure to identify an explanation only compounds the frustration.

I have been frustrated recently over a new iteration of fatigue, a malady that has crept onto the national scene over the past few months.  This illness, spawned by the COVID-19 plague, is called Pandemic Fatigue (PF) and it is spreading aggressively.

As of yet there is no vaccine to prevent it or any proven therapeutic agent to combat it.  Scientists thus far do not even understand how one contracts the illness.  Judging by the rampant community spread, one would suspect that it is highly contagious, but no infectious agent has been identified.

The disease seems to follow several weeks of adhering to public health guidelines to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.   At some point, either insidiously or abruptly, the individual rejects these protective measures and seeks liberation.   Keep in mind that nothing in the pandemic justifies any relaxation if mitigation efforts.  Conversely, as most states in the nation are reporting rising number of COVID-19 cases, experts have counseled a tightening of restrictions to attenuate what appears to be the raging of a 3rd wave of infections.  Paradoxically, Pandemic Fatigue is rising just as the virus is roaring back.

There is no Virus Fatigue

Pandemic Fatigue is a welcome development from the virus’s point of view.  As folks let their guards down, it makes it much easier for the virus to infect more of us.  So, you could argue that PF is actually showing kindness to a virus that has been the victim of so many vitriolic attacks.  Should we celebrate this viral empathy?

If you have had thoughts or heard statements such as those that appear below, then you are at risk of PF and should seek professional guidance very soon.  How soon?  How ‘bout Warp Speed soon!

“I can’t do this one more day!”

“I’m planning a huge family reunion.  We all need this desperately.”

“This is so depressing.  I’ve already missed out on 2 vacations.  I am not missing this wedding!”

“I am much more worried over my family’s mental health than the virus.  We need to go to a real theater to see a real movie to keep our sanity.”

“I’m zoomed out.  I need a hug.”

“Fauci?  What does he know?”


Are you a PF sufferer?   Remember, acknowledgment is the first step toward recovery.




  1. Hi Michael,
    Every strength is a weakness, every weakness is a strength. You column reminds me of my one of Harari’s main points in “Sapiens”. Our species was able to thrive and conquer the planet because of our ability to believe in myth. Critical myths like money, nation, even religious myth. We see this in Trump supporters and virus deniers. This ability to believe in a mass false idea created us and may destroy us. Happy new year!

  2. Elliot, among many other things, we have similar literary interests! I also enjoyed Sapiens and marveled at how one man - the author - could have so much knowledge within him. Hoping that 2021 begins some forward motion for the nation and the world.