Covid-19: what exactly is pandemic fatigue?

Lack of social life and economic prospects have created a new syndrome among young people: pandemic fatigue. The World Health Organization is warning governments to tackle the factors leading to this new type of fatigue.

To respond to the lassitude and the new state of fatigue linked to the pandemic affecting populations, the World Health Organization has just publish a document for the attention of governorsment titled “Fatigue in the face of the pandemic. Motivate the population to prevent Covid-19”. This fatigue which the WHO calls “pandemic fatigue” is defined as “distress which can cause demotivation to follow recommended protective behaviors, gradually emerging over time and affected by a number of emotions, experiences and of perceptions “.

Depressive state, anxiety, sleep disorders …

France is not spared by this state of pandemic fatigue. In his last epidemiological bulletin of February 4, Santé publique France emphasizes that “the mental health of those questioned remains degraded, with depressive states, anxiety states and sleep disorders maintained at high levels”.

If the World Organization is worried, it is because this state of weariness could gradually lead to the rejection of prevention policies and barrier measures. Also in its epidemiological bulletin, Public Health France already notes that “The systematic adoption of all measures related to the limitation of social interaction” is on the decline.

To fight against this new syndrome, the WHO proposes a list of concrete actions to be implemented in order to re-motivate populations, and in particular young people, including:

  • Reach out to civil society groups to ask them to find creative ways to motivate their members and peers.
  • Find creative ways to communicate health advice and avoid constantly changing it.
  • Prepare for upcoming national celebrations so that people can come together between generations in safe sanitary conditions.
  • Understand what measures may be unbearable in the long run.
  • Engage in discussion in schools, universities, retirement homes to modify or rebalance the restrictions.
  • Appeal to populations rather than blame, frighten or threaten them and recognize that everyone is a stakeholder.

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