Although 20% of adults believe our healthcare system wasn’t prepared for dealing with our aging population, it’s hard to argue that our nation was prepared to deal with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic — especially as it pertains to the burden it places on the medical community. Coronavirus cases were already on the rise across the country even before the holidays arrived. And now, just as we’re starting to see the effects from seasonal celebrations, New York State has become the fourth to hit the dreaded mark of 1 million cases.
Almost one year ago, in March 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act into law to provide financial relief for both businesses and individuals. Since that time, monetary assistance has been scarce for Americans, forcing many people to return to work and simply hope for the best.
Unfortunately, that strategy (or lack thereof) hasn’t panned out in most places. With over 20 million confirmed cases nationwide and more than 350,000 deaths, it’s clear that the U.S. doesn’t have a handle on the pandemic — even with the first vaccine rollout taking place. Healthcare workers, along with many of the nation’s 1 million residents who live in senior communities and nursing homes, are slated to receive the vaccine first. But it will likely be quite a while before everyone is able to become vaccinated.
And in the meantime, it looks as if pandemic fatigue, health misinformation, and the desire to gather with loved ones over the holidays will continue to have a negative effect on residents throughout the United States. In New York, COVID-19 cases increased by 15% during the final week of the year, surpassing the national average. Over the New Year’s weekend, the state hit a not-so-distinguished record of 1 million cases since COVID-19 first came to the U.S. in March; New York is only the fourth state to hit this number, joining Texas, California, and Florida. So far, 30,000 New York residents have died from the virus, while more than one-third of the state’s total cases were reported in December.
Sadly, the new year hasn’t magically wiped away New York’s case numbers. Instead of enjoying a clean slate, residents will need to remain vigilant in order to reverse the dangerous trend that experts are seeing.
As Governor Cuomo noted in a statement, “With 2020 now behind us, we can see brighter days ahead, but to get there quickly, it’s going to take all New Yorkers staying smart and staying united… We have the vaccine, and that is good news, but it will be months before we’ve reached critical mass, making it as important as ever that we do not let COVID fatigue get the best of us.”