MOST OF US WOULD CONSIDER IT GOOD NEWS that the number of Americans vaccinated continues to grow even as the daily number of new COVID-19 cases and deaths has fallen since its peak last winter.
Data from USAFacts.com, a website developed by teams from Penn Wharton and Stanford University, show that as of May 3:
• At least 147,894,586 people or 44% of the population received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
• Overall, 96,246,540 people or 29% of the population are now fully vaccinated.
• Currently, the seven-day moving average for daily new COVID-19 cases and deaths is 49,128 and 675, respectively, as reported by USAFacts.com.
Of equal importance, the medical profession now has a better understanding of what factors put certain individuals at highest risk for a severe case of COVID-19. Compared to the onset of the pandemic, today, physicians also have experience at treating the most serious cases, which is a contributing factor in helping reduce deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
Collectively, these developments are a reason to be optimistic that the pandemic is on a downward course, at least here in the United States and a number of other countries around the world. The unanswered question, which only time can answer, is whether SARS-CoV-2 disappears, as did SARS back in 2003. Or will SARS-CoV-2 become endemic? In either case, the nation’s hospitals, physicians, and clinical laboratories will return to a more normal state of operation because people continue to need the full range of care for chronic conditions, cancers, and other infectious diseases.
The facts above provide evidence that it is reasonable to expect that some type of return to normalcy is not too far into the future. Accepting that premise, it is timely for lab administrators and pathologists to chart a path back to a more normal delivery of routine lab testing services.
To help in this effort, The Dark Report surveyed lab leaders about their institution’s travel bans, and whether, as individuals, they are ready to fly on airplanes and attend live conferences again. At least two-thirds of respondents are ready for business travel and educational conferences. That is encouraging and we are exploring how to organize a lab management conference for this fall. Stay tuned for details.