As the holiday season has progressed, COVID-19 has brought new and troubling news. As of Saturday, the virus has inflicted more than 80 million cases worldwide. John Hopkins University has collected data stating that on Christmas day alone, about 472,000 cases have surfaced. The number of deaths has now reached a grim 1.75 million.
While all nations are still struggling to keep numbers down, the U.S.’s cases have shot past the rest, with a recorded 18.8 million infections. India and Brazil follow with 10.2 million and 7.4 million cases, respectively. The U.S. is also leading in the number of deaths at 330,000. Given these troubling statistics, it would be wise to rethink throwing festive parties and holiday get-togethers.
Adding to the already worrisome news, British scientists have discovered a new strain of the virus that proves to be 56 percent more contagious than the former. This new strain was first reported in the United Kingdom, causing many European countries to instate more precautions on foreign travel. Japan has mirrored these limits and announced that it will be banning nonresidential travel for the time being, given the news of a recent, more deadly COVID-19 strain.
Although these new headlines make it seem like the virus will never go away, vaccines are being approved and administered in several nations, signaling our approach towards the light at the end of the tunnel. One pharmaceutical company, Moderna, made it clear that their vaccine will likely be able to protect people from both the original strain and the newly discovered strain of COVID-19. They plan on running more tests on the vaccine to ensure its effectiveness. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the Moderna vaccine as well as the one by Pfizer and BioNTech for use in emergencies. These vaccines have already benefited millions of health care professionals and other front-line workers. They are continuing to be developed until they are safe for use by the general public. Several individuals in the limelight, including Vice President Pence and President-elect Joe Biden, have received the vaccine to promote it as well as to ensure the public of its safety.
While the past week has offered bad news regarding COVID-19 and its rising infections, we shouldn’t lose hope in our lives returning to normal. Front-line workers are continuing to act as our heroes, and medical technology companies are keeping up with the virus’s developments.