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COVID Fatigue: Parkland doctor understands, but reminds people 'COVID doesn't care'

As COVID-19 cases rise in Dallas County, Dr. Joseph Chang reminds people to keep on mask-wearing, hand washing, and social distancing.

Some people are tired of staying at home, tired of feeling isolated or tired of wearing a mask. The panic and scare of COVID-19 has worn off for many.

It’s been termed “COVID fatigue.” And Dr. Joseph Chang understands. He is the Chief Medical Officer at Parkland Health & Hospital System in Dallas. The novel coronavirus surrounds him every day.

“I understand the fatigue, but COVID doesn’t care,” Chang said.

Over the last few weeks, cases increased in Dallas County. More than 104,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, and hospital beds are filling up again.

"At our lowest point, we had about 30 patients in our hospital with COVID, and now we’re back up to 100,” Chang said.

Parkland’s peak was around 200 patients in July. The numbers do not include people who are still in the hospital recovering from COVID-19 after the virus passes.

He is encouraged to see that the rise in cases is slower this time. 

"I think that the reason for our slow rise this time is that most people are still wearing their mask and doing the social distancing," Chang said, adding that people need to keep up the routine.

He emphasizes that people of all ages can be impacted by COVID-19. Some will face bigger challenges than others, and symptoms can be unpredictable.

"You may feel like you are okay because you are young and healthy, but are you going to be that one? I don't know," he said. "I'd rather not take the risk." 

When thinking about the upcoming holidays, Dr. Chang advises people to spend time with their family for the sake of mental health.

“Be with your loved one. Just do it smart,” he said. 

Washing hands, wearing masks, hanging out in small groups and keeping safe distances will all help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and the flu too.