While the coronavirus pandemic continues on through the end of 2020, many are finding themselves victims of "pandemic fatigue," bringing about new risks amid the outbreaks.
When the coronavirus pandemic first reared its head, people across the globe were quick to quarantine, cancel events like weddings and funerals, and cut down on family visits in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
As the pandemic continued to last throughout the summer and now, into the fall months, many are finding themselves weary of mitigation efforts and are instead turning to their normal activities and plans.
According to the New York Times, the United States surpassed 8 million known cases of the virus this past week, with more than 70,000 new cases reported on Friday - which is the most the daily number has been since July.
Katie Rosenberg, the mayor of Wausau, Wisconsin, said, "People are done putting hearts on their windows and teddy bears out for scavenger hunts. They have had enough."
And with pandemic fatigue comes a return to a "normal" that the country may not be ready for just yet, with many people going forth with their postponed wedding plans, eating at restaurants, and doing activities that were previously warned against by infectious disease experts.
The WHO's regional director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, said, "Citizens have made huge sacrifices. It has come at an extraordinary cost, which has exhausted all of us, regardless of where we live, or what we do."
Meanwhile, pscyhologist Vaile Wright has said, "In the spring, it was fear and a sense of, 'We are all in it together.' Things are different now. Fear has really been replaced with fatigue."
However, while a brief "return to normal" may be plaguing the US, cases of coronavirus continue to rise, and the risk of infection only becomes greater the more people become fatigued with mitigation efforts.