Quarantine Fatigue is More Harmful than it May Seem


Image: VCU Health

Sophie Gritsch

While there are few universal experiences in life, it seems that one is shared by nearly everyone these days: we’re tired of quarantine.

Many people in the United States have faced some sort of quarantine or lockdown, and at the very least, most people are experiencing major restrictions in their everyday lives. People are unable to travel, see their loved ones and do many of the things they enjoy in life.

Quarantine fatigue has been weighing heavily on those in the United States for months. The exhaustion of being trapped at home, coupled with the hoplessness regarding the state of the pandemic changing, can push people to feel unmotivated when it comes to staying inside and following safety precautions.

It is understandable why some may give up at this point. As we close in on a year of the COVID-19 pandemic affecting daily life in America, it is starting to feel like it will never end. It’s tempting to give up on the efforts that have been keeping people safe over all these months.

It becomes consistently more difficult to resist the enticing thoughts of how much easier life would be if everything were just a bit more flexible.“Is it really that bad if I take my mask off if I’m just with a friend? It can’t be that big a deal to visit some extended family if it’s just a small group of us, right?”

The issue with quarantine fatigue is that the frustration it causes leads to this temptation, which then leads to a slippery slope of large groups of people relaxing their adherence to the COVID-19 guidelines.

One might think that if they were able to spend time in a friend’s yard and still test negative afterward, maybe it would be okay for them to see their friend without a mask, or hug them or enter their home. The different factors that increase the risk of getting sick right now overlap with the qualities of life that people enjoy and miss.

As the loss of these experiences and the upset that comes along with them grows, more people minimize the importance of restrictions and indulge in these now unsafe experiences, which to them might feel worth the risk.

There is great importance, however, in not giving in to these desires. COVID-19 cases have continually gotten worse over the past few months, and if there has been any time over the past year to be exceedingly cautious, it is now.

For everyone’s sake, people must respect whatever guidelines they can to protect themselves and others.

Each instance of someone relaxing, even a bit, when it comes to these guidelines can increase the risk of COVID-19 spreading more. This only adds to the lasting power of the pandemic, which increases quarantine fatigue and continues to feed the desire to step out into the world as if things were normal.

To keep people safe, and shorten the lifespan of this pandemic, the best thing to do is simply wear a mask, keep your distance and respect the restrictions that help keep people healthy.