As the COVID pandemic wears on, it’s understandable that people are getting tired of taking coronavirus precautions. After two years of mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, staying at home/working from home, avoiding family and friends and even disinfecting around the house, who can blame you? Surveys show a major increase in the number of U.S. adults who report symptoms of stress, anxiety, depression, and insomnia during the pandemic, compared with surveys before the pandemic. Having compassion for yourself and others very important. Remind yourself that it is OK to feel what you are feeling, and it is OK if you are not at your best every day. If you have concerns or if you experience worsening of your mental health, ask for help from a friend, primary care provider, or a mental health professional.
But to bring this pandemic to an eventual end we need to continue prevention measures. New, more transmissible variants push the light at the end of the tunnel back further and further, as does hesitancy around vaccines. Omicron is expected to surge in the coming weeks in Oregon because it spreads much more quickly than any other variant. Early data show the omicron variant may result in less severe disease than the delta variant, but this is still being studied. Because it is much more easily spread, we may see more people in the hospital, further exhausting our already fatigued healthcare workers.
We can keep ourselves and those around us safe by getting vaccinated, getting boosted, wearing a well-fitting mask when away from home, keeping gatherings small and outside if possible, and frequently washing hands to prevent the spread of disease.
To close, an inspirational New Year’s quote from Alfred Lord Tennyson:
“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, ‘It will be happier.’”