ELMIRA, NY (WETM) – COVID-19 cases are steadily declining nationwide, which officials say is a positive sign. In New York State, Gov. Kathy Hochul said cases have fallen 97 percent since Jan. 7, which is where the state approached its COVID peak.
Winter hikes have been a common trend throughout the COVID pandemic, as people go indoors instead of being in outdoor environments. Some indoor facilities do not have proper airflow, and in other scenarios, social distancing can be difficult to accommodate indoors.
“We saw increases in the winters of 2020 and 2021, and we are seeing the end of one now, but we also saw summer waves,” said Dr. John Moore, expert in infectious diseases at Weill Cornell Medicine.
Even in the summer months, when temperatures are too hot, people go indoors to air-conditioned areas, which can also serve as a meeting place to disperse COVID-19. In both seasons, increases are possible, but they depend on the varieties that occur and the regional distribution. Dr. Moore noted that New York City is almost through the omicron rise, while other areas of the country are still battling the variant. Viral mutations make it difficult to predict new COVID waves.
“I will not be surprised by anything that happens. I just do not intend to predict the future,” Dr. Moore continued.
Just like for a storm, Dr. Justin Nistico from Arnot Health that everyone should prepare and use past experience to inform current reactions. He compared COVID-19 waves to a hurricane, saying in part that the houses that are blocked will do better than the houses that are left without protection.
“We must be prepared to lay the groundwork for optimizing our bodies as well as the society around us [for future surges]”said Dr. Nistico.
The preparation process should be easier than before because there are more tools available to the public. He also said the medical community has collected more data than ever before, which will help plan the best course of action in future increases.
“If we prepare each time, we will get used to how we handle the situation. In the medical
society, we have more tools than we have had in the past, ”continued Dr. Nistico.
According to Dr. Moore took almost three years to reduce the impact of the Spanish flu in 1918. He says this pandemic is something we need to respond to rather than predict. He urges people to take precautions while returning to normalcy. New increases are not a cause for panic.
“We just have to get used to the fact that our lives have changed and that we are living with a virus that is still circulating. At some point, it will not, ”concluded Dr. Moore.
Both Dr. Nistico and Dr. Moore says the best way to prepare and the most proactive approach is to get vaccinated and boost to prevent serious illness. While the mask mandates are being lifted, Dr. Nistico added masks still prevent disease, and if you are in a crowded environment, it may be beneficial to wear a face mask.