More than fatigue

2021/02/01 Galarraga Aiestaran, Ana - Elhuyar Zientzia Iturria: Elhuyar aldizkaria

Published in Berria on January 19, 2021

Ed. Unesco Unesco World Heritage Site

Several media have announced that this past weekend the conduct contrary to the measures established to combat covid-19 has multiplied. Many have related it to fatigue: The situation caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus is spreading and people are tired because they have to comply with very strict measures and at the same time they do not perceive that this effort has any benefit. That is, they believe that the rejection of measures is a consequence of tiredness and neglect, and are more noticeable in certain groups like young people.

It is not only a matter of Euskal Herria. In other countries, such attitudes and events are spreading, and similar interpretations have been made, both by the authorities and the media. The experts do not agree. Moreover, according to an article published in the British Medical Journal, this approach is erroneous and harmful.

The authors of the article, psychologists and neuroscientists from two UK universities, have analyzed the behaviors and mood of the population. In fact, the epidemic situation has worsened a lot in the last month, which has caused the tightening of the measures. Along with this have come the expressions that relate the behaviors contrary to measures with fatigue. However, researchers have claimed that the majority of the population continues to comply with measures, even though they are suffering a lot, both economically and psychologically.

Even targeted groups, especially young people, do not commit more violations than others, and are actually less likely than other population groups to confuse closely related groups.

The experts have explained that the difference between reality and conviction is a consequence of a pour of visibility: those who comply with the measures rigorously do not see or appear in the media, only those who oppose them are seen. And they warn that this can cause others not to comply with the rules. If we consider that non-compliance is normal and widespread, why?

However, there is a significant exception: isolation. According to the data of the researchers, only one fifth of the infected or the close contacts of a positive are isolated. To be able to isolate it is essential the help of others (care, food) and resources (space, labor rights, income...). In this way, the failure to comply with the isolation is not due, in general, to the fact that they are fed up with the measures, but to the fact that they have no facilities for it. In places like New York, where grants are offered to isolate people in need, 95% meet the bill.

On the other hand, it is remembered that there are people who are more at risk of contagion than others, such as those who use public transport, those who share flats and those who have no possibility of teleworking. Among them are many young people.

However, the direct association of increased pollution with individual tiredness, neglect and rebellion hides these other structural factors and covers the deficiencies of the authorities. In addition, it negatively influences the majority motivation. Instead, the article suggests that the media should show a good behavior of people.

The authorities say they want to avoid strong confinement and the majority of the population will add to it. However, the effort to achieve this cannot be relegated to citizenship; the means and resources that are in the hands of institutions and, of course, effective strategies are indispensable.

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