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You Might Be Done with COVID, but It’s Not Done with You

We’ve all heard it from friends or family by now, or at least seen it on social media.

I am SO done with COVID.

Unfortunately, COVID isn’t done with us. Not by a long shot.

As of May 11, new COVID cases in the United States were up more than 50% over the last two weeks, driven by the highly contagious omicron BA.2 subvariant and the even more transmissible BA.2.12.1 strain. Earlier in the month, Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator, warned that the U.S. could see 100 million infections this fall and winter.

This trend is not new; cases have been rising steadily all spring. According to the CDC’s COVID tracker, there were 6,382 new confirmed cases on March 13 and 143,423 confirmed cases on May 9—an increase of more than 2,200%.

And yet most Americans don’t seem concerned by this latest surge. A Gallup survey conducted April 15-23 revealed that only 31% of Americans are “very” or “somewhat” worried about getting COVID-19—the lowest level of concern recorded by the polling company since July 2021. The survey further revealed that 64% of Americans believe the COVID-19 situation is “getting better,” while 53% reported they made no attempts to isolate from people outside their household over the previous 24 hours. It’s the first time since the start of the pandemic that more than half of survey respondents have said this.

So are Americans naïve, indifferent, or callous when it comes to COVID?

In some cases, maybe a combination of all three. Mostly, though, they’re experiencing a condition that can best be described as “COVID fatigue”—a desire to put the pandemic behind them once and for all and get back to their normal lives.

It’s understandable that people would feel this way after more than two years of so much death and sickness. People desperately want to believe COVID is over, even if it’s clearly not.

PubSEG encounters this COVID fatigue from the public on a daily basis while contact tracing or performing any other pandemic management strategies on behalf of our clients. Our team is adept at stressing the importance of following proper protocols while remaining empathetic toward people’s emotions. We know that many don’t want to be bothered with COVID at this point, but we also know that doing everything we can to keep people safe is our primary responsibility.

“As folks have gained COVID fatigue and a desire for the virus to be in its final stages, we’ve become very equipped at dealing with different personalities,” says Ira Lawson, PubSEG’s Director of Client Onboarding. “We help them understand the importance of continuing to follow COVID guidelines to ensure they’re meeting the safety requirements of their school or workplace.”

Questions to the public about vaccinations or boosters are sometimes met with annoyance, at least initially. PubSEG does not diminish these feelings; instead, we calmly explain the reason for our call and why it’s so important.

“Sometimes people will say, ‘Why are you bothering me?’ and get frustrated that we’re calling,” says Dawn Stolte, PubSEG’s Vice President of Operations. “We acknowledge their feelings, because all

feelings are legitimate, but we also stress that we need to get this information in order to get them back to work or class safely. Usually, we can bring them around pretty quickly.”

Deep down, most people realize we’re just here to do our job, and that job is helping to keep your campus, classrooms, and community as safe as possible.

Managing COVID has never been easy, but it’s become even more difficult lately, with so many people treating the virus as if it’s over. The numbers, of course, say otherwise.

If you’re looking for ways to help keep your students and employees safe amidst this growing trend of COVID apathy, give us a call at 856-240-8117 or email us at contact@pubseg.com. No matter what your case numbers are, we’ll develop a strategy that works for you.