COVID-19 fatigue showing in Bexar County

Texas MedClinic doctor says weddings and family dinners are behind cases he’s seeing

SAN ANTONIO – As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, local doctors say “COVID fatigue” is real as residents get sick, not of the coronavirus but of dealing with it.

“’You know, ‘I’ve had it up to here, and I’m not doing it anymore,’” said Texas MedClinic Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Gude, who said he has seen people going to more events they may have avoided earlier on in the pandemic.

While this past weekend saw supporters of both President-elect Joe Biden and President Donald Trump gather across the country, including in South Texas, it’s not big events that are currently sending patients to Gude’s chain of urgent care clinics. Instead, he says, it’s events like family dinners and weddings.

“Last week, I was seeing several people who went to a wedding,” Gude said. “There were five people so far that had tested positive because the wedding had been put off in May, and they just didn’t want to have to put it off any longer. So they had the wedding, and now multiple people are ill.”

Despite instances like this, Bexar County case numbers remained relatively low until Monday since the large wave of cases this summer. Meanwhile, the U.S. as a whole, has been hitting record highs for new cases in the past week.

Dr. Erika Gonzalez, the president and CEO of South Texas Allergy and Asthma Medical Professionals, thinks the local infection rate may play a role in local perceptions.

“You know, luckily, we did see the rate of infection kind of steady here in San Antonio. So I think that that also made people kind of get a false sense of security that, ‘Hey, you know what? Maybe this thing is over,” Gonzalez said.

Gude agreed that the relatively low stats might provide a false sense of security, and he does not believe the numbers would hold.

“I don’t think that it’s because we have a shield on,” Gude said, regarding Bexar County’s previously low case numbers. “I think it’s just that we live in an environment that we can be outside, and we can get our social milieu by being outside. But once we have to move indoors, I’m still concerned that we’re going to see significant spikes.”

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