Weathering the 'weary' feeling as pandemic persists

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At the Aug. 26 telephone town hall event that heard callers' questions about COVID-19, John Douglas, director of Tri-County Health, said: “Let me acknowledge that if you're like me, you're incredibly tired of having to continue dealing with the pandemic after now we're getting close to 18 months.

“I hear this from folks in my community, I hear it from my staff, I hear it from my wife,” Douglas said. He added: “I think we're all just deeply weary.”

The effects of the delta variant in the last two months have been a “head-snapping turnaround,” Douglas said.

But COVID-19 vaccines remain highly effective against the delta variant in preventing severe illness — meaning those that lead to hospitalizations or death, Douglas said. The vaccines are 75% effective at preventing all infections in general, he added.

Hospitalizations across the state are rising, but “that's almost all in unvaccinated people,” Douglas said.

Mellissa Sager, a Tri-County Health official, said that even though mask wearing isn't being urged for outdoor events — such as at Denver Broncos games in Denver — it's still a good idea to wear one in a crowded setting.

“Even out in the stadium, activities like shouting very loudly” can potentially spread COVID-19, Sager said during the virtual town hall event.

Despite the challenges in current COVID-19 data, “I think we've got the tools available” to reverse the trends, Douglas said.

Vaccines are the most important tool, but masks, good ventilation, spending time outdoors in the warm weather and getting tested when feeling sick also remain crucial, Douglas said.

“We are going to be able to get our lives more and more normal,” Douglas said. “I think our challenge now is using the tools and staying as positive as we can.”

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