Nurses, doctors on the front lines feeling the brunt of COVID fatigue

The Rebound Detroit
Posted at 4:41 PM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 04:52:30-05

The death toll from COVID is mounting. ICU beds once again are becoming scarce and mask wearing is still a bitter fight.

While on the cusp of a potential vaccine and dealing with this pandemic since March, people are feeling pandemic fatigue. Nurses and doctors on the front lines who are trying to save lives are likely feeling it the most.

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In this Rebound Detroit report, we look at pandemic fatigue.

COVID-19 arrived in America in Jan. 9, months later there's a COVID resurgence. The death toll is rising and people have grown impatient.

Ascension Provident Psychiatrist Dr. Debra Hollander says people are tired of being cooped up in their house and they're tired of being afraid. That is the definition of pandemic fatigue.

Dr. Hollander says we've gotten so tired of doing what we've had to do, we just kind of don't want to anymore. And our health care workers are taking the brunt of it.

Independent Nurse Felicia Smith says they are pretty much tapped out, worn out, fatigued, and they kind of feel like they've been forgotten.

Smith runs Nursing Detroit. She says they go to war against this killer virus in the emergency room and in nursing homes and all they ask for, Smith says, is something as simple as wearing your mask.

"I think it actually makes us feel supported cause we have no choice in this matter," she said.

According to the Guardian, more than 900 front line health care workers have died of COVID, 7,000 globally. Nurses face the highest toll.

Britget Leonard is president-elect of the American Nurses Association of Michigan and she has witnessed pandemic fatigue first hand. She says she's seen a lot of depression, a lot of anxiety, a lot of burn out, yet they came back every day.

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Dr. Hollander took part in a national pandemic initiative with the Center for Traumatic Stress.

She says we're dealing with more than just COVID, there's political upheaval, civil justice unrest, natural disasters and economic problems and we've got all these things hitting us at one time. The emotional strain is worse than the physical.

To keep people safe from COVID at Broadcast House, the majority of my colleagues, including Matt Bellehumeur, a Channel 7 director, work from home.

Matt says he really misses interaction with people. Same for Janan Sitto, a mother of four who chose to home-school her kids because her son has asthma.

Her children attend virtual therapy sessions for their mental health through their pediatrician.

Dr. Hollander says life is going to be difficult for some time, but she encourages us to find our silver linings, and find the things we have some control over. And while many of us can stay safely at home, health care heroes at bedsides across America cannot, but there is something we can do. And that's say thank you to our health care heroes.

By the end of 2020, we may have a new vaccine but the manufacturing and distribution will take time to sort out. In the meantime, the best thing we can do is mask up, social distance and be patient, because better days are coming.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

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