Virginia Department of Health reports an increase in coronavirus cases
BY SUDIKSHA KOCHI STAFF WRITER
According to recent reports by the Virginia Department of Health, Virginia has come to a total of over 565,000 COVID-19 cases, with about 65,000 of those cases in Fairfax County alone — bringing up the question of “When will this pandemic finally be over?”
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said that if the vaccination distribution is efficient, a state of normalcy could be reached by the end of 2021.
“Let’s say we get 75 percent, 80 percent of the population vaccinated,” Fauci said at an online event sponsored by the New England Journal of Medicine and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “If we do that, if we do it efficiently enough over the second quarter of 2021, by the time we get to the end of the summer, i.e., the third quarter, we may actually have enough herd immunity protecting our society that as we get to the end of 2021, we can approach very much some degree of normality that is close to where we were before.”
Although some are frustrated with the idea of wearing a mask even after one year of the pandemic, Fauci said that the problem is much bigger than any one person.
“As a public health official … it would be unconscionable to walk away from this or to throw up your hands in frustration,” Fauci said. “It’s not about me and how I feel; it’s about what the problem is. And the problem is enormous. … You just have to suck it up and keep going.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a series of overlapping phases for when an individual should be expected to get the vaccine. The first phase constitutes healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents.
The second phase constitutes frontline essential workers and people over age 75, while the third phase includes other essential workers, people aged 65-74, and people with underlying medical conditions that could cause COVID-19 complications.
Each individual must receive two doses of the vaccine in order to be considered “fully vaccinated.”
The Virginia Department of Health reports that almost 500,000 people in Virginia have been fully vaccinated, while 1.1 million people have received the first dose of the vaccine. The average number of doses administered each day is over 29,000 at this time.
Speaking at a “Facts and Faith Friday” at Virginia Commonwealth University, Fauci said that the vaccine will be especially helpful for communities of color, as they are at increased risk for the virus for multiple reasons, one of which is the commonness of occupations that cannot be done from home.
“It often puts them in a position to have to interact outside in the community in a person-to-person way, which leads to the spread,” Fauci said.
Fauci is still encouraging people to wear masks, because it isn’t yet known whether vaccinated people can transmit the virus.
“I still do not do dining indoors and I still do takeout,” Fauci said on NBC News. “I want to continue to support the restaurants in my neighborhood that I would normally go to.”