Quarantine fatigue?: Now is not the time for complacency as infections rise — expert

Published September 1, 2021, 12:38 PM

by Jaleen Ramos

“Hindi po ngayon ‘yung time na mapagod kahit pagod na pagod na tayo.”

Complacency among the public may be one of the factors in the continued surge of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the country, an expert said Wednesday, Sept. 1.


In a virtual briefing, Dr. Karl Henson of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases said that multiple factors are contributing to the current surge of the virus aside from the highly transmissible Delta variant.

“Ang Delta variant, sa mga walang bakuna ‘yung amount of virus in the nose is 1000 times higher than the older versions of the virus. So kapag di naka-properly suot ang face mask at face shield mas madali talaga ipasa ‘yung virus (The Delta variant, for those without a vaccine, the amount of virus in the nose is 1000 times higher than the older versions of the virus. So when you don’t wear the face mask and face shield properly, it’s really easier to transmit the virus),” he said.

The country recorded its highest-ever new COVID infections at 22,366 on Monday, Aug. 30.

“Marami pong kaso ngayon na pami-pamilya po. It’s in the house na nagtatanggal tayo ng face mask, face shield, and our personal protective equipment (PPEs). Marami pong rason and definitely po ‘yung complacency can be one of those reasons (There are many cases today that are family-oriented. It’s in the house that we remove the face mask, face shield, and our PPes. There are many reasons and definitely complacency can be one of those reasons),” he added.

According to a recent survey, only 89 percent of Filipinos nationwide are using face masks while 70 percent use face shields.

“Nakakalungkot po yung numero ng pagbaba… Majority pa din are doing the appopriate protection kailangan lang po talaga na mas pataasin at mas ma-remind naitn sila about the minimum health standards (It’s sad that the number has dropped… The majority are still doing the appropriate protection… They just really need to increase it and remind them more about the minimum health standards),” he said.

The expert said that this can possibly because of “quarantine fatigue”.

“That’s very possible. We have been dealing the pandemic since the beginning of 2020. Pinapa-stay po natin ang mga tao sa bahay, mga bata, mga matatanda (We have been dealing with the pandemic since the beginning of 2020. We are keeping people at home, children, the elderly),” he said.

“Hindi po mahirap isipin na pagod na pagod na yung mga tao sa mga public health measures na ito. Ngayon po na may surge, I think now is not the time na mapapagod dapat tayo (It’s not hard to imagine that people are already tired of these public health measures. Now that there is a surge, I think now is not the time for us to get tired),” the doctor stressed.

Following the minimum health standards such as observing physical distancing, handwashing, wearing of face masks as well as face shields still helps in preventing the transmission of the virus, Henson reiterated.

“Face shield is an extra layer of protection. I’m aware na mayroong iba na questioning this intervention pero habang wala pa po tayong habang madaming datos, ang thought po ng government and ng experts is by wearing a face shield ay meron kayong extra protection (I’m aware that there are others questioning this intervention but while we still don’t have a lot of data, the thought of the government and the experts is that by wearing a face shield you have extra protection),” he said.

“Particularly, kapag hindi po kayo nakapaghugas ng kamay at mayroon kayong virus sa kamay, hindi niyo madaling nakukusot yung mata niyo and that is actually extra protection for the people (Particularly, when you can’t wash your hands and you have the virus in your hand, you don’t easily rub your eyes and that is actually extra protection for the people),” he added.

Face shields, however, must still be worn along with face masks, Henson noted.

“Hindi pwedeng face shield on its own, kailangan may face masks. Importanteng matakpan ang iyong ilong, bibig, para hindi malanghap yung COVID (You can’t use face shield alone, you need face masks. It is important to cover your nose, mouth, so that the COVID cannot be inhaled),” he said.

Henson, meanwhile, advised the government to continue reviewing evidences that might help improve the recommendations to make it easier for people to follow the minimum health standards.