New year, same coronavirus pandemic

COVID cases soaring, hospitalizations breaking records, vaccinations lagging behind

New year, same coronavirus crisis.

“We’re in a very grim milestone here and it’s a very crucial period,” said Dr. Syra Madad, senior director of NYC Health + Hospitals’ system-wide special pathogens program.

COVID-19 cases are soaring, hospitalizations are breaking records and vaccinations lagging behind.

“This is a very ambitious undertaking and states and localities need resources, they need funding,” said Dr. Chris Pernell, a public health physician.

By this point, Operation Warp Speed hoped to vaccinate 20 million people, but the CDC said a little more than 12 million vaccines have been distributed to states -- with fewer than 3 million shots going into arms so far.

“We absolutely need to send in reinforcements if we want to accelerate the vaccination administration that absolutely has to happen now,” said Madad.

Especially since a more contagious variant, first detected in the United Kingdom, is being reported in more states.

“If it continues to mutate and it becomes highly contagious, that could eventually mean more people get sick, more people get hospitalized, and more people eventually die,” said Dr. Saju Mathew, a public health specialist.

“The same exact techniques worked to control the spread of this strain than the already very transmissible strain that was already prevalent,” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

So, wear a mask and socially distance.

“All very important, tried and true, they might not work quite as well against a new variant but those are the most effective weapons that we have,” said Polis.

Those weapons, combined with the vaccines, may mean the change we hope for in 2021 happens by the time we say hello to 2022.

“We do have these vaccines. We just need to hunker down and get there and I think next year, by this time, it will be a very different world for all of us,” said Dr. Mathew.