CINCINNATI — The thought of going back into lockdown is enough to put anyone on edge again after 16 months of constant vigilance.
There’s no immediate threat that people in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky will be ordered to once again mask up — but Los Angeles County residents in California are starting on Saturday, and other countries continue to implement localized lockdowns in response to pop-up outbreaks.
The Los Angeles mandate is sparking conversation across the country: Will it happen where you live?
Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff of the Ohio Department of Health said it’s difficult to predict whether case numbers and death will rise to levels requiring dramatic action.
“I think we’re in a very different position than we were in as we were heading into last fall,” he said. “We had no vaccine available as we were heading into last fall, and now … when we look at those 18 and older, almost 60% of Ohioans have begun the vaccination process, and when we look at those 65 and older, the numbers are better than 80%. We have a lot of good protection there.”
For now, it’s unlikely. The Ohio Department of Health declined to answer questions about whether officials were considering another lockdown.
But even the thought of backtracking into stricter quarantine measures can be anxiety-inducing, said psychologist Dr. Ashley Solomon. She believes people all over the world are living with “pandemic fatigue,” a state of mental and emotional overstimulation that comes from enduring a yearlong global crisis.
“Our alert systems are jacked up to high, and we’re looking out for any sign that we could be going backward, whether or not that’s actually true and going to happen,” she said. “It’s actually going to take some more work to work through the anxiety that’s been brought on to this pandemic and the trauma that so many of us have experienced.”
Solomon recommends practicing self-care and challenging anxious or catastrophizing thoughts when they appear. Vaccination and good hygiene stop the spread of COVID-19 and can help prevent another lockdown. Worrying doesn’t.