There have been over 100 million cases from COVID worldwide. The United States, in particular, continues to see new cases on the rise and people who work in the medical field have been dealing with this since the very beginning. Now, in 2021, the nurses and doctors are hoping to see a difference now that most people are getting vaccinated, but, as of right now, it’s difficult when they are still facing problems from last year that have rolled into the new year.
“We started seeing more people get positive results after the holiday seasons,” Kathy Monroe said.
Monroe is a patient support associate where she takes care of critical care and intermediate patients that get out of surgery or come from trauma. She has worked a lot with COVID-19 patients and even caught it herself while working on the COVID floor at a hospital in the Columbus area.
“I remember feeling really sick out of nowhere when I got home from work one day. I immediately got tested because I knew the symptoms, and some were the same symptoms I saw with the COVID patients I helped.”
This had happened in early December right after Thanksgiving. Monroe had not celebrated with any family members for the holidays. Now looking back, she is thankful that she didn’t because she did not want to pass on the virus to anyone else.
This was one problem that anyone who works in health knew would happen. During the months of November, December and January, people would be wanting to visit their loved ones despite the risks and health officials explaining why they should not go home. There were even commercials being aired telling people to not be visiting their families during the holidays season in hopes that we would listen and decide to opt out of visiting our loved ones.
As the graph above shows, the commercials and constant pleading to not visit others during the holiday season did not work. As new cases started to decrease a bit during the month of September and October, they began to rise during November and stayed relatively around the same number throughout the next month rolling into the New Year and seeing its biggest number of new cases at over 300 thousand on January 2, 2021. Right after the final big holiday where people spend it with either friends or family.
The cases were still high during the first week of January and then finally began to die down afterwards. This could also be due to the fact that vaccines have been rolling out since the beginning of this year and many have been taking it.
“I do believe that we started to not see as many positive cases once more people were eligible to take the vaccine,” said Chrysta Stewart, who also works on the COVID floor.
Stewart started to see a slight decline in COVID cases during this year after January. Stewart thinks that once most people take the vaccine, then new cases will decline exponentially.
“We’ve already started to see a decline in COVID cases,” Stewart stated. “If people continue to get vaccinated, I think that we will continue to see less and less positive cases until we finally get to basically no one testing positive.”
As of right now however, Stewart believes that until everybody feels comfortable enough to get the vaccine, people should be continuing to follow the guidelines.
“The pandemic has been going on for so long that I think everyone is just tired of having to follow these guidelines,” Stewart said. “Believe me, I’m very tired having to remember to put on my mask every day to go into work and to just go to the store, but if we could all just stick it out for a little while longer, I think that this could end sooner, and we could go back to normal.”
With summer right around the corner and more holidays coming up, we could possibly expect to see a few cases rise in the U.S. However, we could possibly see not as many cases due to the widespread number of people receiving their doses of the vaccine.
The graph above shows how many people have been getting vaccinated daily in the U.S. since December 2020. We can begin to see a huge change when it gets to mid-April going into May. With more family and friend holidays coming right around the corner, such as Memorial Day and Independence Day, we could possibly see a spike in COVID cases, but not as many since many people have been getting vaccinated.
“With these holidays coming up, I am expecting to see more COVID tests coming back as positive. Except, I don’t think as many because of the constant vaccinations that are taking place all around America, and if people do test positive and have gotten the vaccine, they won’t get as bad of symptoms and not pass it on to that many people,” Stewart explained.
With more holidays arriving, hospital workers are expecting to see a spike in COVID cases, but not as many during last year’s holidays. The only thing that they are hoping for is that with these holidays coming up, people will continue to do their part in helping stop the spread of COVID-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands frequently, and socially distancing as best as they can.
“Obviously it’s been hard to stay away from loved ones during these times, but if people continue to keep following the guidelines, we could possibly start seeing a bit of normalcy soon.”