You may have heard one of the many slogans public health officials have adopted as rallying cries during the COVID-19 pandemic: “Stop the Spread”, “Mask Up!”.
These are ways to encourage people to adopt “Nonpharmaceutical interventions”, or NPIs in an attempt to limit the pandemic’s reach. NPIs are behaviors, separate from vaccination or medication, that help prevent the spread of disease. Examples include mask-wearing or only leaving your residence for essential reasons, like grocery shopping.
According to a recent study by researchers from Johns Hopkins, Yale University, and University of Southern California, adherence to NPIs in the United States decreased greatly from early April to late November of last year, in what researchers have dubbed “pandemic fatigue.” Through a survey involving 7705 participants from around the country, researchers found that less respondents were engaging in NPIs like avoiding eating at restaurants. Notably, mask-wearing actually increased among survey participants.
Additional research is needed on the effects of NPIs in order to inform policy and public health messaging.