MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Pandemic fatigue is coming in and the numbers reflect that.
The COVID-19 number of cases and deaths continues to rise in Minnesota.
“It’s definitely worse,” says Dr. Frank Rhame, specialist in infectious diseases for Allina Health and Abbott Northwestern.
Rhame says it’s not just because of increased testing. Minnesota’s positivity rate is still hovering at or above the 5% threshold indicating dispersal of society – despite increased testing.
“This is where discipline comes in,” Rhame said.
For several months, many people have worked hard to limit themselves, but the virus is working harder.
So what can we do?
“People do not have to go crazy over this,”
He says that if you want to venture out, do it with a small and consistent group.
“So you find another family that is also very careful, their kids like your kids, and then you socialize within that bubble,” Rhame said.
And when you think of indoor activities this season, remember “the danger of that depends on the congestion of ventilation and the size of the room,” Rhame said.
Dr. Michael Osterholm of the University of Minnesota says it is not time to give up.
“We are still pretty much in the third maybe the top of the fourth inning with this virus,” Osterholm said.
He says recent outbreaks in the workplace and sporting events for teens indicate that life is returning to the way we knew it, but it has consequences.
And there are plenty of 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 do not want to do,” said Osterholm. “This is our COVID year and we just have to keep understanding it.”
It is also helpful to distinguish between COVID-19 symptoms on the way into the cold and flu season.
If you have the flu, it turns on quickly, you often feel like being hit by a truck.
COVID-19 may creep up with mild or no symptoms at first. Loss of taste and smell and shortness of breath are the noticeable differences.
And a cold typically does not have a fever above 100.5 degrees. If you do not see the difference, call a triage nurse. They can help.
“Even if you have COVID-19, if you’re feeling really good, we do not want you in our clinics,” Rhame said.
So the expert advice? Get your flu shot and stay in your bubble.
“Every little bite helps and most importantly, that little bit can be the life you save,” Osterholm said.
Osterholm says he believes the next six to twelve weeks will be the worst we have seen since the start of the pandemic. The numbers also exceed the peaks we saw in the middle of summer