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COVID fatigue is real. We have to fight it.

We need to bring COVID-19 back into focus.

You, your friends, and your neighbors likely are experiencing fatigue as we approach the anniversary of the first cases of COVID-19.

We all want things to get back to normal.

But the number of new cases in Pierce County reached new records recently and continue to climb.

More holidays are coming. Unless we change our habits, COVID-19 numbers won’t be going down anytime soon.

Fight the fatigue.

You’re probably tired of COVID. The increasing numbers of sick and dead are tragic. 

Not only is fatigue understandable, but it’s how our brains work. A recent article in Psychology Today examined how parts of the brain work better at transmitting neurons when hearing about one person’s struggles than when hearing about 1,000 people—or even two. 

Our brains relate better to stories about one person than to 1,000. We understand how the constant barrage of large numbers can be numbing.

The fatigue we are feeling is part of grief, too. We are all mourning in different ways. Many of us—the families and friends of more than 200 people—are mourning the loss of a loved one. That is a profound loss of real people who lost their battle with COVID-19.

Or perhaps you miss time spent with loved ones, or the loss of a job or income. You may miss pre-COVID-19 life. Your children’s school activities, or  loss of special events. Many may mourn the loss of “normal” activities like going to a sporting event, working out with friends, singing together at church, or kicking back for a weekend party. 

No matter what we miss or have lost since our pre-COVID lives, it can add up to a heavy burden that is shaping our daily emotions, feelings and attitudes—differently. This year has brought many challenges but also new perspectives on living. We have changed our lifestyles—maybe focused more on family, our own health, and the way we go about our daily lives. Many people took up new hobbies, such as gardening, baking, or walking. Some good and much hope has played a part in 2020 as well. 

We can become more resilient during trying times, which can strengthen us mentally and physically. This improved strength will help us be successful in the coming months. We can come through this stronger together.

How about some good news? 

We expect vaccines to become available for front line healthcare workers before the end of the year. We don’t yet know when vaccines will be more widely available. But we are getting closer.

The Health Department will not promote a vaccine until we determine it to be safe and effective. Keep following this blog and our social media feeds for the latest on COVID-19 vaccine availability in Pierce County. 

In the meantime, stay home. Avoid unnecessary trips to the store or other public places. When you’re with people from outside your home, you need to keep up the habits that keep you safe from COVID-19. Our disease investigators know of at least one instance where friends got together to watch a Seahawks football game. One of them didn’t know they had COVID-19. And all of them got it. 

Transmission among friends and family accounts for most of the spread of COVID-19 recently. We must refocus our efforts on keeping our friends and family safe:

Celebrating at home with only people you live with is best this holiday season. But if you choose to gather with friends and family from outside your home, follow our safety tips at our Safe Gatherings webpage.   

Learn more about COVID-19 at tpchd.org/coronavirus.

A view of Tacoma's Foss Waterway skyline.