The week of March 4, 2021 celebrated the one year mark of the United States’ inclusion of the COVID-19 pandemic. Last spring, there was a peak in concern around this time. The summer brought a higher peak in case numbers and the fall and winter of this year brought on an even higher peak of cases. Will this year just be a repeat of this past year?
The Daily podcast is hosted by Michael Barbaro and produced by Rachel Quester and Neena Pathak for the New York Times. For its March 4 episode, it addressed how the pandemic has indeed touched all of us in “How Close is the Pandemic’s End?” At the beginning of March 2021, many politicians, scientists and citizens of the country are starting to see a light at the end of this tunnel.
“The daily infection rate had fallen constantly for weeks,” The Daily said of case numbers in this episode, noting the pandemic’s recent stall.
This episode covered how, “vaccinations are increasing in dramatic numbers,” critiquing how, although necessary precautions are advised for the local and national government and health officials, not all local governments are following through. The Daily both noted that the governor of Texas recently opened the state 100% and mentioned Mississippi’s altered state policy on COVID-19 safety precautions. This episode supported President Joe Biden’s disappointment in these states’ decision to override Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
It is important that we understand how and why these next few months are important. “Variations of the disease are now the concern,” The Daily host said, addressing the concept of multiple strains of the virus developing by looking at why the decline in infection has stopped, highlighting two reasons in-depth in a helpful, informative manner. The first being that people have prematurely begun to act as if the pandemic is no longer a concern for the country. These actions have led to the second reason that we are now “starting to see the impact of the variations,” The Daily said, then going into detail regarding the UK and South African variants and their relative infection and lethality rates.
“How Close is the Pandemic’s End” closes with a discussion regarding safety guidelines that incorporates a sense of urgency. Guidelines mentioned include staying socially distanced, wearing masks around those with whom you do not live and disinfecting hands and surfaces on a regular basis, noting herd immunity as the foremost strategy for listeners to stay mindful as the pandemic wanes.