The town of Wellesley has been elevated from a green to a yellow level area for COVID-19 as cases of the virus increase. As of December 18, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health listed Wellesley with a 1.05 percent positivity rate over the last two weeks. Out of the town’s total 565 cases, 87 of them have occurred in the past two weeks. This has moved Wellesley to the yellow level, which is considered moderate.
This color system includes four levels: grey, green, yellow, and red. The yellow level classification means that in a town with a population of over fifty thousand people, there must be at least ten cases out of every 100,000 people on average or have a positivity rate of at least four percent. While Wellesley’s positivity rate has been reported as 1.05 percent, the “average daily incidence rate” is 20.9.
The high school’s school nurse Ms. Shari Johnson believes that the rise in cases in Wellesley and the state of Massachusetts has occurred due to people following COVID safety guidelines less rigidly.
“I think there’s COVID fatigue. I think people are relaxing and gathering more than they have in the past, and the weather is cold and people are gathering more inside instead of outside,” said Johnson.
Indoor dining has become a source of concern pertaining to COVID-19 for public health officials. With indoor dining, people who know each other going out to eat are dining near strangers. While eating, masks are off despite the six feet of distance between people. While the political and economic consequences of putting a temporary ban on indoor dining plays a role in the decision, the facts show that this activity presents itself as a cause for concern. Proponents of allowing indoor dining believe that out of the COVID outbreaks in the state, the vast majority are caused by other means.
Those who are feeling COVID-19 fatigue may take solace in the fact that wearing a mask and practicing proper social distancing leads to less spread of the virus. Keeping yourself and others safe will lead to less transmission of COVID-19. News of both Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines have elevated people’s hope on the end of the pandemic as well.
Johnson believes that in order to combat COVID-19 fatigue, people must continue to follow the virus safety guidelines that were followed much better earlier on.
“People can lower case numbers if they stay vigilant, do all the things we’ve been told such as masks, social distancing, and limiting gatherings,” said Johnson. “It doesn’t seem to be spreading in schools. It seems to be a lot of contact with family and friends that’s promoting it. It’s [spreading from] people who are comfortable with each other, who relax and let their guard down and don’t do everything we’re told to do.”
Johnson believes that there had been much creativity in combating COVID-19 fatigue earlier on in the pandemic. As time has gone by, however, people may have forgotten ways of staying connected to friends and family while following COVID-19 safety protocols.
“I think we have to continue to be creative and find ways to connect in different ways, Zoom, cards, phone calls, text messages with family. I think we were creative at the beginning and we’ve stopped being satisfied with those alternative contact methods, but we’ve got to go back to them,” said Johnson.