COVID-19 Trauma, Uncertainty Could Have Lasting Impact On Coloradans

The uncertainty and length of the pandemic is taking a toll on Coloradans.

Video Transcript

- As Colorado begins to come back from months of closures and restrictions, many people wonder if we're ready.

- Yeah, this week, we have seen multiple counties tighten restrictions and hospitalizations have been slowly ticking up since last month. Tonight, 393 people are in the hospital due to COVID. But the state is also optimistic that by the time we see major events, many more Coloradans will be fully vaccinated. This return to normal is something that is a little hard to grasp right now. Jeff Todd looking into the mental impact of the past year for us. And Jeff, you spoke to a psychologist about how to navigate this time.

JEFF TODD: Karen, it really seems like we're at a tipping point. Could the state go into a fourth wave and see restrictions return or will vaccinations succeed and we'll come out the other side returning to life like it was in 2019? That's what a lot of businesses down here want to see. Well, psychologists say this is taking a mental toll on all of us.

DR. KIM GORGENS: There's really no way to overstate just how widespread the effects of the last year are now and will continue to be for years to come.

JEFF TODD: For some, the past year has brought the loss of a loved one. For many others, it's been a loss of normalcy. And Dr. Kim Gorgens says that's affecting us and our communities.

DR. KIM GORGENS: We all have this shared trauma response, absolutely. And the accumulation of grief for all the losses that we've had.

JEFF TODD: As events begin to come back and crowds start to gather at things like baseball games or our favorite establishments, Dr. Gorgens says studies show about half of us are still concerned and reluctant returning to normal.

DR. KIM GORGENS: There's a learning curve to returning to a routine and a new normal where do you not shake hands but you do fist bump? Is it elbow? Like there's this whole-- this emergence of a new set of learned social behaviors that are totally novel to every single one of us.

JEFF TODD: As more vaccinations occur and we get closer to life before the pandemic, she says things will be messy, and it'll take community support and patience.

DR. KIM GORGENS: There's a way that we need to give each other the latitude to screw this up a little bit as we're getting our feet back under us.

JEFF TODD: Dr. Gorgens really emphasized to us how many people should be seeking some kind of help but aren't, and she said it's easier than ever right now, even being able to do it just on your phone or a computer. We can connect you to a few resources over on cbsdenver.com. Reporting live, Jeff Todd, covering Colorado first.