How start-and-stop reopenings mess with your head amid COVID-19


As coronavirus cases continue to surge in many states, the process of easing restrictions, then slamming them back in place could be America’s new tumultuous reality – one that threatens the psyche of many, experts say.

At least 21 states have paused their plans to reopen their economies, just weeks after unveiling those measures as the nation started to emerge from strict quarantine measures and stay-at-home orders. These stops and starts can trigger feelings of frustration and fatigue and leave people feeling overwhelmed.

“This is very confusing for many people, and rightfully so,” Dr. Ogbonnaya Omenka, assistant professor of public health at Butler University, told USA TODAY.

“Initially, mixed messages defined how states and different jurisdictions were responding to this problem. With public health intervention, clear messaging, even if it’s wrong, is better than mixed messages. Because if the message is clear, you are leaving it still up to the individuals to decide whether they want to acquiesce to it or not,” he said.

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