DETROIT – As the United States continues to struggle to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19), health officials said there are several reasons Americans don’t feel they need to follow restrictions.
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Experts said a higher level of commitment will be needed to lower case counts, but many Americans are falling short.
Sense of freedom
In some ways, our American sense of freedom has hampered our ability to contain COVID-19 more effectively, experts said.
Dr. Deborah Birx said right from the start, our version of a lockdown was lacking.
“I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy,” Birx said. “When Italy locked down, I mean, people were not allowed out of their houses and they couldn’t come out except once every two weeks to buy groceries for one hour, and they had to have a certificate that they were allowed. Americans don’t reacted well to that kind of prohibition.”
Birx warned the majority of community spread in the U.S. now is from social gatherings.
She cautioned people to stop assuming their family members and friends don’t have the virus.
“Tens of thousands of lives can be saved if we wear masks and we don’t have parties in our backyards,” Birx said.
Is it worth the sacrifice?
Convincing Americans that stopping the spread of COVID-19 is worth the sacrifices it will take to do so remains a challenge, according to Birx.
“When you are asking people to change behavior, you have to meet them where they are, so I’ve really tried to carry the message of, ‘This is what we know works and this is what we know will stop the cases of the virus,‘” Birx said.
Birx is seeing rising levels of COVID-19 fatigue. She said that’s when people become increasingly weary of having restrictions with no end in sight.
Often, people with COVID-19 fatigue will simply stop following the safety guidelines even though the risk of spread is still out there.