COVID-19: One Year Later
In December 2019, dozens of individuals in Wuhan, China, were diagnosed with pneumonia that didn’t seem to have a cause. After a few days of research, it was determined that a new virus was at fault, and the first Chinese death was reported on January 11, 2020. The first confirmed coronavirus case was found in the United States by mid- January, and the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency on January 30, although it wouldn’t even be recognized as COVID-19 until February 11. By March 15, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended U.S. citizens limit the amount of people at gatherings, marking the beginning of our country’s pandemic restrictions.
Within the past year, millions of Americans have felt the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, whether becoming sick themselves, losing loved ones, or losing jobs. But through it all, with research and hard work from the medical and scientific communities, we are approaching a place of hope for returning to some form of normalcy.
Latest COVID-19 Numbers & Developments
Thanks to the emergency approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, action is being taken towards ending the coronavirus outbreak. Both of these vaccines do require two doses in order to be considered “complete,” so even with millions having received both, it only equates to about 7.7% of the U.S. population. As of March 2, 2021, Illinois has fully vaccinated roughly 866,132 people (6.8% of the population), and Indiana has fully vaccinated 586,200 people (8.71% of the population). However, just within the last week, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has received FDA approval, and it only requires one dose, meaning the vaccination efforts could be accelerated.
Although COVID-19 cases and related hospitalizations have been on the decline, new more contagious variants have been emerging, so wearing masks and following safety precautions is still important. Even with a decline, the numbers are actually similar to where we were last summer. Within the last week of February, the U.S. was averaging roughly 67,760 new cases daily, with an average of 2,046 COVID-19 related deaths per day. If we were to let our guard down now, we could see a large resurgence in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, eliminating all of the hard work we’ve put forth over the last year.
We know that as more of the population receives the vaccinations, we’ll be that much closer to the end of this pandemic. Until then, continue to wear your mask properly in public spaces, social distance at least six feet away from those who do not live in your home, wash your hands frequently, and disinfect the often-used surfaces in your home.
If you think you may have COVID-19, or have recently been exposed to someone who tested positive, be sure to quarantine yourself and get tested. At Midwest Express Clinic, we are proud to offer patients rapid COVID testing. We will get through this pandemic by working together – even if we have to stay far apart.