Crowley doctor: ‘Pandemic fatigue’ causing people to let down their guard

Acadia Parish

CROWLEY, La. (KLFY) — Pandemic fatigue is plaguing everyone, but Dr. Robert Aertker explains it’s not over yet.

“All of a sudden in the last two weeks between four physicians at Crowley Primary Care, we’re testing probably between five and 10 people who are positive a day.”

Dr. Aetker says the increase follows a lag in case numbers over the last 4 to 6 weeks, and positivity rates in several Acadiana parishes are hovering around that benchmark 10 percent, up from five percent or lower.

“What that means is that it was 1 in 20 people having the disease to 1 in 10,” says Dr. Aertker.

Dr. Aertker believes factors contributing to the increase could be cooler weather that keeps people inside and large Halloween gatherings. He and the majority of the medical community are concerned about the Thanksgiving holiday and encouraging people to remember that we are still dealing with an active pandemic.

“We need to think differently. Are we going to do Thanksgiving in shifts at the house? Are we going to do Thanksgiving outside? Are we going to do Thanksgiving without as big a family as we did in the past?”

Social media has created confusion and controversy over the novel coronavirus and the use of masks. Dr. Aertker urges people to understand how important they are.

“The mask is probably the most important new form of hygiene that we have. Is it 100% effective? No. But it brings a new level of hygiene each individual brings to an interaction and that’s really important when you’re interacting with folks who potentially may have the disease and not know it.”

His message echoes what medical professionals have been asking the public to do to reduce the spread of COVID-19. He understands people are experiencing pandemic fatigue, and that some people don’t realize how serious it is.

“I don’t think it hits home until family member dies, or a physician has rounded on 29 patients who have died, and you know it’s real. For the person who doesn’t have that perspective yet, I ask that you take what I’m telling you to heart and tell you this is more real than you can imagine.”

Dr. Aertker shared that he’s hopeful that the medical climate will improve next year when the vaccine is released.

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