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The COVID-19 pandemic just hit another grim milestone

The spread of COVID-19 has reached levels seen in winter 2020

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Kai Palmer gets tested for COVID-19.

Kai Palmer gets tested for COVID-19 outside of the Maverik Center in West Valley City on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. A new study suggests feeling COVID-19 symptoms might actually be COVID-19 and not side effects of the vaccine.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The coronavirus pandemic has reached levels seen back in the winter, wiping out months of progress made with the release of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to The Associated Press.

  • Right now, the U.S. is an average of about 1,800 COVID-19 deaths and 170,000 new cases per day.
  • Back in January, the U.S. reached a high of about 3,400 deaths and 250,000 cases per day on average.
  • Though the January numbers are still significantly higher, that was the peak of the pandemic. And winter is right on the doorstep for the United States.

Scenes from around the country sound similar to reports from last winter. States like Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee are seeing a rise in cases as kids return to school. And across the country, the dire need for hospital beds plagues the country.

  • “The dire situation in some hospitals is starting to sound like January’s infection peak: Surgeries canceled in hospitals in Washington state and Utah,” per The Associated Press. “Severe staff shortages in Kentucky and Alabama. A lack of beds in Tennessee. Intensive care units at or over capacity in Texas.”

Dr. Dimitri Christakis, director of the Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development at Seattle Children’s Hospital, told CNN that the only way people will return to normal is through getting the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • “We’re in the same storm, but we’re not in the same boat. Some of us are in yachts. We have resources. We can work from home, we’re immune-competent, we have access to a vaccine — and some of us are in rafts,” Christakis said.

A recent forecasting model from the University of Washington suggested that close to another 100,000 people could die from the novel coronavirus between August and December, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, recently said that the only way to avoid so many COVID-19 cases is through vaccination, too.

  • “If we do it right and get through the winter, I hope as we get to the spring of 2022, we’ll get there,” he said on the “Today” show.