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Looking back on COVID-19: Where we’ve been and some hope heading in 2021

Published: Dec. 25, 2020 at 2:20 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - (12/25/2020) - It’s been nine months since Michigan confirmed it’s first two cases of COVID-19.

Today, emergency authorization of two new vaccines is giving health professionals a ray of hope. We spoke to a Mid-Michigan disease expert, looking back at where we’ve been, and more importantly, some good news for where we’re heading.

”I don’t think anybody could have expected when we first heard about this virus that we would be where we are now,” Dr. Debra Furr-Holden sad.

Furr-Holden is an epidemiologist and Associate Dean for Public Health Integration at Michigan State University. She says in the early days of COVID-19, she thought it would be under control, much like other new viruses in the past.

Instead, 2020 has been the deadliest year in American history with more than three million deaths for the first time.

“It’s unfortunate because we’re in the era of better medicine, better innovation, and healthcare, yet we’re seeing this record-number of annual deaths,” Furr-Holden said.

Then, with the holiday season around the corner, there was potential to see things really take a turn for the worse at a time where the state was hitting new records for daily cases of COVID-19.

“We were fully expecting that we would see a surge in cases following Thanksgiving,” Furr-Holden said.

But instead...

“It looks like people tended to shelter-in-place, avoided the large, multi-household gatherings. Our numbers have actually across the state and especially in Flint and Genesee County have been steadily decreasing since Thanksgiving. This is good news, and a testament to people are doing their part,” Furr-Holden said.

Furr-Holden says there’s more good news to round out 2020, like the emergency authorization of two new vaccines.

“It’s a good thing that we have a vaccine available, and when you couple that with people wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and people having the resources that they need to stay safe, we start to build layers of protection that are going to be critical to get this pandemic under control,” Furr-Holden said.

Furr-Holden says if people stay the course, she’s hopeful that will be around late spring of 2021.

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