(AP) – Leading St. Louis-area doctors are warning residents to brace for at least another year of living with COVID-19.
The region, covering portions of both Missouri and Illinois, has surpassed 1,500 COVID-19 deaths and more than 54,000 confirmed cases since the first positive test in March. Although doctors say they’ve become better at treating the virus and preventing its spread, they also warn that life won’t return to a pre-pandemic “normal” until late 2021 at the earliest, echoing comments made last week by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.Dr. Alex Garza, who leads the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force, said that despite the persistent number of confirmed cases, the region was in a “better position” now than early on in the pandemic because more is understood about slowing the spread.
Garza noted that the percentage of sick people who die is lower than in early spring. Early in the pandemic, outbreaks were happening in nursing homes, meat plants and other crowded spaces.
Steps such as requiring masks in those places, restricting visitors and increased testing have helped, Garza said.