A Look Forward to 2021

Stan Adams
Dec 17, 2020 10:19:28 AM

This past year has been an incredibly challenging year as we dealt with what some have describes as a once in a lifetime pandemic. Thinking back to December of last year, we probably could not have imagined the year ahead of us with COVID-19 just beginning to spread from Wuhan, China. That’s right, less than a year after the novel coronavirus was identified, we have developed effective vaccines, mitigation measures, testing, and improved treatments.

The incredible scientific feats this year are overshadowed by the sheer amount of loss and suffering, especially here in the United States with 300,000 + people having died from COVID-19 as of December 2020.

This is the very strange place that we find ourselves. Many have talked about vaccines as a light at the end of the tunnel and a way to end this pandemic. At the same time, the United States is seeing over 200,000 cases each day. It’s admittedly hard to reconcile that the first U.S. vaccine recipient received their first dose on the same day that we reached 300,000 deaths.

We all react differently to the news of a COVID-19 vaccine, some may want to abandon masks and other precautions, but the road to returning to normalcy is still a long one and it will take some time to distribute vaccines widely. Experts caution that now is not the time to stop fighting the virus. As we've discussed in previous blog posts, Dr. Fauci warns that we could see surge upon surge until we reach a herd immunity threshold through vaccines likely by fall of 2021.

Other medical experts, such as Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, estimates that we may reach herd immunity through vaccination by summer, with the caveat that people need to be willing to take the vaccine and believe it to be safe. Dr. Wachter also acknowledges that there will be potential challenges vaccine distribution, like who gets priority, though the CDC will likely release guidelines in the coming weeks.

This is all to say, that while we are all anxious to return to some sort of normalcy, or at the very least stop worrying about COVID-19 each time we leave our homes, now is not the time to abandon precautions.

While we are all experiencing pandemic fatigue and would all love to gather for the holidays, now is not the time to stop fighting the virus—we are just now realizing that extent that Thanksgiving gatherings spread the virus.

If you do choose to gather, I recommend checking out our blog post The CDC's Recommendations for Celebrating a Safer Thanksgiving to learn more about precautions you can take to make your gathering safer and less likely to spread COVID-19.

Though there are likely difficult times ahead, we should stop to recognize the incredible scientific advances that will see us through this pandemic. Now we must bide our time and wait, easier said than done.

From all of us here at QuanSTAT, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season, and look forward to a brighter 2021.

Until next time, stay vigilant, and let's do everything we can to stop the spread.

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