Global COVID-19 cases rise

Paul Wernes, Travel Editor

The global death toll from COVID-19 has surpassed 1.5 million people, with more than 284,000 in the United States. Many countries have implemented lockdowns as governments around the world struggle with the best way to handle the increases in numbers.

While a vaccine has been approved in the U.K., it will not be available to the general population for at least several months.

“Corona has gotten so bad so quickly because there are not enough people who are following the rules of social distancing. In order for everything to go back to normal we have to follow the safety precautions,” said Laynee Smith, a senior.

According to New York Times, over the past 10 months, the virus has taken more lives than H.I.V., malaria, influenza and cholera.

Mixed approach to safety

One of the main reasons that the virus has spread so much is because not everyone is participating in the safety precautions. Like nothing seen in more than a century, COVID-19 has infiltrated every populated patch of the globe. It has infected millions of people in some nations, paralyzing entire economies.

As the death toll continues to rise, more information is available about those who are infected but do not die. The CDC reports that most people recover fully, but there are people who experience continuing problems with their lungs and other infections. Some of these patients have had symptoms for weeks or even months after recovering from COVID-19. Many have lingering ill effects, whose severity and duration remain unclear.

“Certain parts of the world are handling the virus differently and I think that if we all came together to help each other out we could overcome the COVID-19,” said Ryan Berger, a sophomore.

Some countries have had better success keeping numbers low. According to Johns Hopkins research, the US, Brazil and Russia have the highest percentage death rates, while Australia, China and Japan have the lowest.

“The amount of cases are increasing because parts of the world are opening up more and more. This is going to increase the amount of cases. I think hospitals have been able to do a better job on helping people survive because they are more prepared,” said Hoveeg Boyadijin, a teacher.

Vaccine brings hope

News of two vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna entering the approval process has brought hope to many working on eradicating the disease.

“Mass scale-up of vaccination in 2021 means we have a path back to normal life, but there ae still a few rough months ahead,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, IHME director. “We must be vigilant in protecting ourselves at least through April, when, as our projections indicate, vaccines will begin to have an impact.”

Much of how the virus plays out across the globe will depend on the actions of humans. Health officials have expressed concern that some people may not take the vaccine.

¨Young people don’t really have extreme symptoms for COVID-19 and I  wouldn’t want to take the risk of a vaccine being harmful. I could understand if older people take the vaccine,¨ said Jacob Reiff, a senior.

Delivering the vaccine to everyone in the world will be difficult, and will take time. According to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation, even with the vaccinations, the Covid-19 death toll is likely to increase into April of 2021.