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Experts offer message of hope amid COVID-19 pandemic, say summer 2021 will be 'remarkably different' from last year
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Experts offer message of hope amid COVID-19 pandemic, say summer 2021 will be 'remarkably different' from last year

About time we got some good news

Health experts predict that summer 2021 will be far more enjoyable than summer 2020.

What are the details?

In a Monday article at the Huff Post, writer and editor Jillian Wilson said that hope is coming back full force this year.

"The past year-plus has been heavy and exhausting, with barely enough time to breathe before the next piece of not-so-great COVID-19 news drops," Wilson wrote. "It seems, though, that we are rounding a corner as cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to drop and vaccines become more available."

Citing Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, Wilson noted that the U.S. appears to be on a "good path" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Speaking for the U.S., I'm really hopeful that this summer will be remarkably different from last summer," Nuzzo said. “We're on a good path right now and I just hope that we can stay on the path that we're on."

David Aronoff, director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, added that as more U.S. citizens receive a COVID-19 vaccine, there will likely be fewer restrictions imposed on the general public.

"These vaccines are absolutely our way out of this pandemic," Aronoff said.

Timothy Brewer, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that he predicts the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue to relax standards in restrictions.

"One of the things that we are feeling better about is the data around SARS-CoV-2 transmission and recognizing that outdoor activities have not turned out, as best as we can tell, to be a significant factor in pushing the pandemic forward," he said, advocating for outdoor gatherings.

He continued, "I'm not sure whether we'll get back to large outdoor mass gatherings like athletic events where stadium are full, but I do think that there will be more smaller, outdoor gatherings."

"I think there will be less concern about what people do outdoors," Brewer added, and said that beaches and pools will provide relative safety for people to congregate.

Aronoff agreed and said that, while the news is promising, "maintaining a safe distance remains important until more people are immunized and the pandemic is clearly on the way out."

In all, Wilson wrote, "The outlook for the summer is generally sunny: We can look forward to eased restrictions, more available vaccines, and social gathering with those who are vaccinated."

Aronoff added that while experts continue to track new COVID-19 variants, he is "encouraged" by data that suggests that scientists "haven't seen a real rise in case numbers particularly in the states where they have reported the variants."

Nuzzo warned, however, that if people ease their guard against coronavirus too soon, the situation does "have the possibility of going off the rails."

"We're in the last mile, folks," she warned. "Let's not quit the race before we win."

Wilson concluded, "Long story short: Those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will experience a version of life that is fairly 'normal' — visits with parents and grandparents, local beach house rentals with vaccinated loved ones, drinks with friends, hugs from family — without the overwhelming fear of becoming seriously ill or dying from the coronavirus."

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