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Doctors say quarantine fatigue contributing to spike in COVID-19 cases

“I think the reality is we are all so tired of this pandemic.”

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With COVID-19 cases spiking, a UF Health doctor said part of the cause is quarantine fatigue.

“It’s this exhaustion, frustration, or boredom from being away from your normal routine," said Dr. Chirag Patel, assistant chief medical officer at UF Health Jacksonville. 

Dr. Patel pointed out several symptoms of quarantine fatigue including lack of motivation, suffering anxiety, losing focus and having social withdrawals.

“Basically what happens is the stress ultimately shifts your brain from viewing the precautions at something that keeps you safe to something that’s keep you away from the things you enjoy,” said Dr. Patel.

Dr. Patel said initially in the pandemic, the vigilance people showed was easier for our mental health because it was focused on self-preservation. Over time, some people’s minds started processing things differently.

“We all let our guard down and maybe it may be a little be easier for us to decide, 'Well I'm not going to wear my mask this one time, or I’ll go ahead and make a trip to the grocery store even though I really don’t need that item right at the moment,'" said Dr. Patel. 

Dr. Patel said  all these things are risk factors for more people to contract 

COVID-19 and with the new more contagious strain the risk increases. Dr. Patel said there are several things people can do to fight against fatigue.

“Try to have those weekly game nights or movie nights with those people in your household," Dr. Patel said. "Go out and enjoy any of the numerous green space we have in our regions, make an exercise plan, pick up a new hobby."

While the virus is still here, practice safety measures such as wearing a mask and good hand hygiene and physical distancing.