Guest Contributor Dr. Cynthia Morrow
As we reflect on our second-year anniversary of COVID-19 in our community, it is important that we honor the impact it has had and give thanks for the progress that we have made together in the fight against COVID.
Today, we are thankful that the Omicron surge continues to recede. And we are hopeful that we will continue to see our case counts, our hospitalizations, and our mortality associated with COVID-19 decline.
We are thankful we are much better protected against COVID-19. Recent estimates show that over 90 percent of Virginia adults have at least some protection against COVID, either through vaccination or through prior infection.
We are thankful that we have more medical treatment options available for those who do get COVID and are at risk for poor outcome.
We are thankful that we have built sustainable community partnerships that will not only help us protect our community if a new variant threatens our health, but that we can count on to continue to improve our community’s health together whether it is an infectious disease, or substance use disorder or any number of health threats.
We are thankful, but we are humble. We know that COVID-19 is still here and is likely to stay here for the foreseeable future. And we know how much COVID has taken from us.
Over the past two years, COVID has overwhelmed our first responders, our healthcare workers, our emergency rooms, and our hospitals. It has isolated children and older adults. It has relentlessly challenged our schools in ways we could have not imagined. It has disrupted our businesses. All told, COVID-19 has hurt our hearts and minds with unimaginable losses.
The last two years have presented relentless challenges for each of us and we still have many challenges ahead of us. As we transition to a new normal, one in which we expect to see sporadic waves of COVID-19 activity, we need to consider how we:
- Protect against and treat COVID-19 to minimize health impact of Covid-19- hospitalizations and deaths
- Prepare for new variants and determine how we can minimize their impact, including minimize community transmission
- Prevent business and school shutdowns to minimize the economic and mental health impact
- Enhance community resilience by identifying systematic approaches to address mental health needs and help all of our residents recover.
In closing, we don’t know what the future will bring, but we do know that we can count on each other to face whatever challenges lie ahead of us together.