COVID: The “Gift” That Keeps on Giving

Caleigh Russo

 

A new strain and two new vaccines: acceleration of dismal distress adjacent to the light at the end of the tunnel. What’s going on?? When will this never-ending nightmare finally end? It’s so hard to keep up these days. Soooo…. here’s everything you need to know:

The second I saw the news of the new strain, tears instantly started welling up in my eyes. “Is this the end or just the beginning?” I thought to myself.  Although this new strain is allegedly 70% more contagious, it presents nearly identical symptoms to the strain we are more well acquainted with. It will increase hospitalizations by a landslide (more cases=more hospitalizations), but it is not more deadly. Also— and this can be considered a Christmas MIRACLE— the vaccine will still work on this new strain, so we will not have to go through the treacherous process of awaiting the vaccine again. There will be a spike and the next few months will be tough, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Earlier today, the CDC released a statement saying “although a variant may predominate in a geographic area, that fact alone does not mean that the variant is more infectious”. The geographic area they are referring to is the UK, where this strain originated and spread. This strain could already be in the US and the high volume of cases in the US (just over 18 million) would have made it easier for this new strain to slip under the radar. Although this new strain is very frightening to everyone, the CDC assured the public that “there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death”.

Although things are not particularly looking up at the moment (unless you’re looking at the daily cases chart on google), it is amazing to see people starting to get the vaccine. Earlier this week, it was distributed to health care workers and public health officials are hoping that it immunize at least 70% of the population therefore helping us achieve herd immunity. Because the Pfizer vaccine must be kept at a whopping -70*C, the company has created GPS trackers and has put dry ice in the coolers to ensure maximum utilization of the vaccine. Hundreds of millions of vaccines have been pre-purchased by the Federal Government, who vows to make them free to the public. According to the US General Surgeon, Dr. Vivek Murphy, “every American will have access to a COVID vaccine by the fall. My fellow seniors, that means we may actually have a shot at a somewhat normal freshman year of college!! Dr. Murphy even said “If everything goes well, then we may see a circumstance where by late spring people who are in lower-risk categories can get this vaccine,” This is good news, especially at a time where were really needed it!

The potential timeline for COVID vaccinations

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/21/health/new-covid-strain-uk.html