Covid is taking an emotional toll across Europe with rising levels of apathy among some populations, the World Health Organization is warning.
Survey data reveals the scale of this “pandemic fatigue”, estimated to have reached over 60% in some cases.
Many people are feeling less motivated about following protective behaviours after living with disruption and uncertainty for months, says the WHO.
Dr Hans Henri Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, says fatigue is to be expected at this stage of the crisis.
“Since the virus arrived in the European region eight months ago, citizens have made huge sacrifices to contain Covid-19.
“It has come at an extraordinary cost, which has exhausted all of us, regardless of where we live, or what we do. In such circumstances it is easy and natural to feel apathetic and demotivated, to experience fatigue.
“I believe it is possible to reinvigorate and revive efforts to tackle the evolving Covid-19 challenges we face.”
He says there are strategies to get us back on track, with communities at their heart:
Understand people by measuring public opinion regularly and acknowledge their hardship
Involve communities in discussions and decisions as part of the solution
Allow people to live their lives, but reduce their risk by looking at innovative ways to meet continuing societal needs – for example, delivering meals to vulnerable people or organising virtual catch-ups
He highlighted virtual celebrations during Ramadan or floating cinemas as successful new approaches that could help people adapt to the new conditions imposed by the pandemic.