New England’s success in fighting COVID-19 may be a model

Boston (Associated Press)-For Dr. Jeremy Faust, the moment he realized that the epidemic was no longer dominating his workday was on Memorial Day weekend, when he was in cloth The emergency room of Legan and Women’s Hospital did not see a single coronavirus case in Boston after two shifts.

Kerry LaBarbera, a nurse in the emergency room at the Boston Medical Center a few miles away, had a similar understanding on the same weekend when only two COVID-19 patients came to her ward, which is one of the busiest wards in New England.

“The past year and a half is like going through a tornado or something terrible,” she said. “You hold on to your precious life, and then you overcome it, like,’What just happened?'”

If more Americans get vaccinated, Massachusetts and the rest of New England—the areas with the highest vaccination rates in the United States—are giving the rest of the country a glimpse of the future.

The number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the region has been steadily declining, as more than 60% of residents in all six states have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

In contrast, the deep-south states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi have the lowest vaccination rates at about 35%, and the number of new cases relative to the population is usually higher than in most parts of New England. Nationwide, approximately 50% of Americans have received at least one injection.

In Massachusetts, health officials last week Sure not For the first time since the weekly assessment began in August last year, towns in the state are at high risk of spreading COVID-19.

In Rhode Island, the coronavirus hospitalization rate has dropped to approximately Eight monthsAfter New Hampshire reached a peak of about 12 people a day during the winter surge of the virus, an average of about 12 people died every week.Vermont is the state with the highest vaccination rate in the United States, with a vaccination rate exceeding 70%, exceeding Two weeks There has not been a reported death from the coronavirus.

“Unbelievable changes have occurred in such a short period of time,” said Dr. Tim Lahey, an infectious disease physician at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.

Public health experts say that with President Joe Biden’s push to vaccinate 70% of U.S. adults with at least one dose by July 4, other parts of the country may get some clues from New England. Free beer And other good things.

One thing the region seems to be doing right: former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden, said that the rate of expansion of vaccine eligibility is generally slower than in other parts of the country, but more attention is paid to vulnerable groups in President Obama. Under his leadership.

Dr. Albert Ko, head of the Department of Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut, said that New England leaders have also largely accepted public health experts’ recommendations on economic priorities throughout the pandemic.

The region also played an important role in the worst-hit areas at the beginning of the outbreak.

“We did experience it in those early days,” Ko said. “This has left a big mark on the population as a whole.”

Experts say that it is certain that some of the improvement in the number of COVID-19 can be attributed to warmer weather, which allows New Englanders to distance themselves more from society when outdoors.

States such as California and Nebraska also performed as well as some states in New England New cases Relative to population. Racial differences in vaccination still exist in the region, just like in many other corners of the country.

in a Series of tweets Last weekend, Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health in Providence, Rhode Island, compared the relatively low vaccination rate in Springfield, Massachusetts, which is the largest, poorest, and most diverse in the region. One of the most modern cities, and Near Newton is a wealthy, predominantly white suburb of Boston.

“So if you are in a state of high vaccination, your job is not done,” Jha wrote. “Because there are too many people and communities across the United States that still cannot get vaccines.”

Nationwide, the number of new coronavirus cases has dropped to an average of about 15,000 per day, while the death toll has plummeted to around 430 per day—the lowest level since the beginning of the crisis in late March 2020. The total death toll in the United States is less than 600,000.

Even with a sharp drop in cases, New England hospitals are busier than ever in many ways, as patients return in droves after delaying medical care for more than a year.

Dr. Katherine Gergen Barnett, head of the Family Medicine Department at the Boston Medical Center, said that re-establishing contact with ordinary patients has been “energetic” but also very laborious, because in addition to their trauma, Many people have to overcome a year of mental trauma and neglected physical illness.

“A little exhalation will definitely happen,” she said. “We ran that marathon, but we have another long race in terms of getting people back to health.”

Paul Murphy, a nurse in the emergency department of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said his work week is slowly returning to normal. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

Paul Murphy, a nurse in the emergency department at Brigham and Women’s, said that some of his colleagues are tired and exhausted because depressed patients today may have to wait for hours. A hospital spokesperson emphasized that the average waiting time is one hour or less.

Despite this, the 54-year-old Warwick, Rhode Island resident said that as the area regained its vitality, it was refreshing to leave heavy work. Murphy said that more than 50 hours of work during the pandemic are gone, and now he has time for his children’s physical exercises and other commitments.

Faust, an emergency doctor at Brigham University, said that he hadn’t had a guilty sleep for almost the whole day recently, which he could not have dreamed of in the pandemic pandemic.

But like other health experts, he is concerned that the slowdown in vaccination rates may make the country vulnerable to newer and stronger virus mutations.

“If we continue to infect so many people with the virus, we are playing roulette,” Faust said. “That’s what keeps me awake at night now.”

Associated Press reporter Lisa Rathke in Marshfield, Vermont; Patrick Whittle in Portland, Maine; Kathy McCormack in Concord, New Hampshire; Mark Platt of Boston contributed to this story Contributed.

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