(BLOOMINGTON, Ind.) – There have been loud arguments about COVID precautions from vaccination to masks. But there are signs people are increasingly ignoring one of the most basic steps: staying home if you’re sick.
In the last month, cases and hospitalizations have doubled, and case counts the last three days are the highest since January. IU chief health officer Aaron Carroll says contact tracing shows more people are going about their normal plans even if they have symptoms.
Carroll says people trying to power through their symptoms isn’t unique to COVID. He notes in the pre-pandemic area, swallowing a slug of cold medicine and going to work was often viewed as “noble.”
Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill says there’s an element of COVID fatigue in sticking to precautions. Monroe County is the only one with a mask mandate in place, but Caudill says compliance has declined even as cases have risen.
And Carroll says that fatigue shows up in another way. While Caudill urges getting tested if you have COVID-like symptoms, the average Hoosier has already been tested twice for COVID. Carroll says the more times people test negative, the more likely they are to dismiss their symptoms as a cold or allergies.
And while four out of five COVID patients in the last month have been unvaccinated, Carroll says some people who have gotten the shot mistakenly think other precautions are unnecessary. If you’re vaccinated, you’re less likely to catch the virus, and far less likely to get seriously ill, but you can still catch it, and spread it.