The latest models show 200,000 Americans could die from COVID-19 by October

Early reopenings and all but forgotten social distancing practices have driven up the numbers for coronavirus mortality models by more than 30,000 since mid-June. Many states are seeing consistent large increases in new cases and hospitalizations, indicating that necessary precautions aren’t being taken.

One model, cited by the White House and CDC, predicts a minimum of 200,000 coronavirus deaths by Oct. 1, which model co-creator Ali Mokdad told CNN is due to a premature relaxation of COVID-19 safety measures.

“Increased mobility and premature relaxation of social distancing led to more infections, and we see it in Florida, Arizona, and other states,” Mokdad told CNN. “This means more projected deaths.”

One of the hardest hit states in this projection would be Florida, coming in at just under 19,000 deaths. That’s 9.5% of all projected coronavirus deaths nationwide. 

Columbia University professor of epidemiology Wafaa El-Sadr told Express that fatigue felt by those socially distancing and sheltering in place is likely what’s driving people back out into the world in the middle of a pandemic.

“People feel they have done distancing and they are thirsting to get outside and connect with each other,” El-Sadr told the newspaper. “If this surge requires us taking a step back, how do we convince people to do that?”

This phenomenon is known as “caution fatigue,” where the brain is tricked into thinking that extra vigilance and precaution is unnecessary after the immediacy of a threat such as coronavirus has worn off. Most peoples’ “quarantine” has just passed the three-month-mark, and fatigue causes, like stress and lowered sensitivity to warnings and difficulties processing new information, are all too common. 

How can I combat caution fatigue?

Recommended measures for fighting caution fatigue include taking care of both mental and physical health with self-care along with diet and exercise. One could also reframe the costs vs. benefits of remaining cautious. In the simplest of terms, without restoring coronavirus precautions, the chance you will get sick greatly increases. Rebuilding a routine to restore consistency to your day-to-day schedule and making a habit out of being community-oriented are also thought to be helpful.

Sources: CNN, CNN on caution fatigue, Reuters, Express, Time

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