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Got COVID fatigue? Officials, experts worry about PTSD or letting guards down

Posted at 11:25 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 23:25:17-04

NEW YORK — "COVID fatigue" is a new term coined to describe the exhaustion and impatience people are experiencing after more than half a year of living in a pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo addressed the issue Wednesday in his press briefing.

"We have a serious problem of the emotional stress and anxiety that COVID has caused, and the longer it goes on, the worse it is getting," he said.

Cuomo said there are rising health concerns brought on by the virus. At the start of the pandemic, it was difficult to envision we'd still be living like this as we approach the holidays.

"One day they will be talking about PTSD from COVID," said Cuomo. "The PTSD effect on children, on seniors, on all individuals who are suffering from the anxiety and stress from COVID is going to happen."

People have grown weary of social distancing, mask wearing and other safety protocols.

COVID fatigue is real, and if you’re suffering from it, you're not alone. The governor himself added that people in his own circle are dealing with it as well.

"I have friends that I'm worried about. I speak to friends or members of my family who I'm worried about," said Cuomo. "You can hear it in their voice, there is an emotional toll."

Behavorial therapist Dr. Marcie Beigel said its normal to have COVID fatigue. It's vital to check up on our friends and family and encourage them to seek professional help, if needed.

And just as important, is self-care.

"There's going to be PTSD for all of us around this because we are all living in trauma," said Beigel. "That's not something we can get away from; what we can do is put in active coping skills so we can get around the other side with more resilience and less impact of the PTSD, of the trauma we are living in."

The length of the pandemic and the constant fear of contracting a deadly virus is taking a psychological toll on every one of us. Not being able to see friends or family like we normally would is also a big trigger.

"The isolation, the constant changing in mandates, the vigilance of protecting ourselves, of worrying about our health, of worrying about our loved ones is really leading to all ranges of emotions and trauma for all of us living in this space," said Beigel. "It is also the deeper underlying fear of 'is this is safe' as a question we are asking ourselves every time we walk out that door."

COVID fatigue is also making us careless, and that is being attributed as one reason for the current surge in cases nationwide.

"You don't have the luxury of fatigue, because the virus isn't fatigued," said Cuomo.

The governor also said that substance abuse, domestic violence and calls to mental health hotlines are all on the rise, and they're planning on adding resources statewide.