coronavirus pandemic

Bay Area Welcomes 2022 as COVID-19 Cases Continue to Surge

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The new year is already starting to look a lot like 2021 on the pandemic front as the omicron variant drives up infections and hospitalizations.

It was a quiet Saturday night on campus at the College of San Mateo, but they’ll be ringing in 2022 in true pandemic form with walk-up and drive-up COVID-19 testing Sunday morning.

The campus is one of many sites where you can get a test before traveling, returning to work or heading back to school.

With a shortage of rapid at-home tests, the pressure to get students of all ages tested before going back to class Monday is going to be tricky.

The pandemic continues to hit many of us with new challenges but there may be reason for optimism as 2022 matures.

“There are a lot of unknowns, but I feel like at some point the pandemic will end. After all, all pandemics do end,” said UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.

But Chin-Hong added that it’s not all good news, at least not in the immediate short-term following holiday exposures from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day.

“I think these next two weeks are going to be critical for disruptions in our everyday life, because people are going to be sick in the workforce,” he said.

But Chin-Hong told NBC Bay Area’s Thom Jensen that after many people survive a few more weeks of pandemic hardships like staffing shortages that lead to everything from long waits at restaurants to flight cancellations, many can optimistically could expect to have months of normalcy.

As more people get vaccinations and boosters and more unvaccinated gain immunity from exposure to the virus, population immunity will improve.

Dr Chin-Hong said some day in the not too distant future we may be able to treat the virus like seasonal flu, “…where you look to see what’s happening in other areas during the winter like Australia and New Zealand and use that to predict what might happen in North America during our winter,” Chin-Hong said.

Chin-Hong said that a new more deadly and even more contagious mutation of the virus could still show up this year, but he added that he stands by his statement that the pandemic will end and maybe 2022 will be the year.

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