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06:01 AM

COVID-19 Fatigue is Real, but Experts Warn to Stay Vigilant

As Six-Month Milestone Approaches, Many California Residents Feeling the Effects of Staying at home Since March 20

September 20 marks six months since California Gov. Gavin Newsom first enacted stay-at-home orders to slow the speed of transmission of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). And while some "COVID fatigue" is to be expected, experts say, virus vigilance is just as vital as it was six months ago.

“It’s completely understandable that people, including me and my fellow medical professionals, are feeling fatigued from the effects of the virus,” said infectious disease specialist Michael Ben-Aderet, MD, associate director of Hospital Epidemiology at Cedars-Sinai. “The pandemic has caused a fundamental change in all of our lives. The only constant we’ve had is the constant of unknown.”

But this virus is unrelenting and requires a massive, coordinated and sustained public health effort, Ben-Aderet said.

“We have seen in other parts of the country and the world that early and effective shutdowns will cause the pandemic to plummet, enough to resume previous activities,” said Ben-Aderet. “By continuing to support recommendations from local public health agencies, I believe we will soon enter a season where widespread community transmission is no longer the norm."

Six months of data show that Cedars-Sinai has delivered strong results for COVID-19 patients since the medical center began tracking numbers in early March.

“When a patient is diagnosed with COVID-19 today, the disease is just as severe as it was six months ago,” said Jeffrey A. Smith, MD, JD, MMM, executive vice president of Hospital Operations and chief operating officer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “However, we are now better prepared to care for these patients.”

The data show that a vast majority of COVID-19 patients who were admitted to Cedars-Sinai finished their course of treatment and were discharged to continue their recuperation.

“All aspects of our care have improved as we continue to learn more,” said Smith. “Each day is a new opportunity to further our understanding of the novel coronavirus and help save lives.”

Ben-Aderet also says each day is an opportunity to become better informed and educated on the ever-changing recommendations surrounding COVID-19.

“For me, knowledge is power,” said Ben-Aderet, who turns to the Los Angeles Public Health Department for the latest and most up-to-date information. “I don’t want to ‘doomscroll’ through misinformation online. I want to learn straight from the source and better understand changes like why gyms were open, but then shut again. Educating myself is my biggest form of vigilance.”

His plan to get through the next weeks or months: Taking time to appreciate the small things.

“Whether it is appreciating the start of football season or trying a new recipe, this pandemic has forced me to be grateful for the things in my life I can control,” Ben-Aderet said. “Seeking joy in unexpected places has helped make the last six months more bearable than it would have otherwise been.

Read more on the Cedars-Sinai Blog: Good Sleep in Times of Stress