MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Pandemic fatigue is coming and the numbers reflect it.
The number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rise in Minnesota.
“It’s clearly worse,” Dr. Frank Rhame, an infectious disease specialist for Allina Health and Abbott Northwestern.
Rhame says it’s not just because of increased testing. Minnesota’s positivity rate is still above or above the 5% threshold indicating community prevalence, despite increased testing.
“This is where discipline comes in,” Rhame said.
For months many people have been working hard to limit themselves, but the virus is working harder.
So what can we do?
He says that if you plan on venturing out, do it with a small, coherent group.
“So you find another family that is also very attentive, their kids like your kids and then you socialize inside that bubble,” Rhame said.
And as you think about this season’s indoor activities, remember that “the risk depends on the ventilation of the crowding and the size of the space,” Rhame said.
Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota says now is not the time to give up.
“We are still largely in the third, possibly the top of the fourth inning with this virus,” Osterholm said.
He says recent workplace outbreaks and teen sporting events indicate life is returning to how we knew it, but that has consequences.
And there are many temptations to come this year, including holidays.
“The tradition is to get together if you really love your family this year, that’s what you won’t do,” Osterholm said. “This is our COVID year and we just have to figure it out.”
It is also helpful to distinguish COVID-19 symptoms that range from cold to flu season.
If you have the flu, it comes on quickly, you’ll often feel like you’ve been hit by a truck.
COVID-19 can creep in, with mild or no symptoms at first. Loss of taste and smell and shortness of breath are the obvious differences.
And a common cold typically doesn’t have a fever above 100.5 degrees. If you can’t tell the difference, call a triage nurse. They can help.
“Even if you have COVID-19, if you’re doing really well we don’t want you in our clinics,” said Rhame.
So the expert advice? Get your flu shot and stay in your bubble.
“Every little thing helps, and most importantly, that little part could be life saving,” Osterholm said.
Osterholm says he thinks the next six to twelve weeks will be the worst we’ve seen since the start of the pandemic. The numbers will also surpass the highs we saw in mid-summer