Data Suggest Americans Suffering From ‘Quarantine Fatigue’
Article from For Liberty by Norm Leahy.
We’ve added a lot of new terms to our vocabulary since the coronavirus pandemic hit our shores.
“Stay-at-home” orders to “social distancing,” have been around for what seems like forever. But there’s a new term on the rise, and we’re going to hear a lot more of it in the weeks ahead:
It’s not just a fancy term for that old standard, “cabin fever,” because what it shows is how people are, apparently, beginning to ignore orders to stay put.
Based on cell phone data, researchers have seen a statistically significant change in individual activity:
By April 17, the researchers found, the share of people presumed to have stayed home — meaning their phones didn’t move at least a mile that day — declined from a national average of 33 percent to 31 percent, compared with the previous Friday. That came after six weeks of the staying-home percentage increasing or holding steady.
This has some public health experts in an uproar:
George Rutherford, an epidemiology professor at the University of California at San Francisco, said he’s concerned to hear that more people are venturing out while infections remain on the rise in much of the country.
“We’re going to have to do this carefully,” Rutherford said of states beginning to ease restrictions. “Letting people decide for themselves because they’re bored is not a good way to do it. . . . This is not the time to be letting up.”
The temptation is to pin the rise in truancy on the White House’s call to re-open the country, or states taking steps to slowly restart their economies. What the data show are even the politically bluest of regions are bending shutdown the rules.
But the worst-ever way to encourage people to remain cooped-up indefinitely?
For those feeling cut off, experts say, government messages of sympathy and compassion would help.
Um…no. it would make things even worse.
Image Credit: Joe Mabel [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]