Hagerty Reflects on COVID-19: One Year Later
MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2021 AS OF 4:00 PM EST
On January 24, 2020, Hagerty wrote our first COVID-19 Situation Status (SitStat) Blog post titled, “Novel Coronavirus Spreads throughout Asia and is Confirmed in the US.” At the time, there were only two confirmed cases of COVID-19 throughout the United States (US) and little was known about COVID-19s impact on the human body, its Basic Reproduction Rate (R0), or the impact the impending pandemic would have on our society.
To date, the US has had 25.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll across the country has reached 419,263. Currently, the US is leading countries across the world in active COVID-19 cases. Globally, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reports that there have been over 99.3 million confirmed cases of COVID-19; with India ranked second in total confirmed cases (10.6 million) and Brazil ranked third with 8.8 million total confirmed cases. More than 2.1 million people have died from the disease worldwide.
Employees Assist at a COVID-19 Testing Site: Hagerty
On January 21, 2021, President Joe Biden released the National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, a 200-page plan outlining seven goals to make the country more resilient to COVID-19. This National Strategy “provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century” and “outlines an actionable plan across the federal government to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including 12 initial executive actions issued by President Biden on his first two days in office.” Specific elements include “mounting a safe, effective, and equitable vaccination campaign; protecting those most at risk and advancing equity (including across racial, ethnic, and rural/urban lines); and immediately expanding emergency relief and exercising the Defense Production Act.”
Vaccine distribution (a key area of focus within the National Strategy) continues across the US after becoming available in December of 2020. In order to ensure the most effective and efficient transition to a pre-2020 state, individuals must consider maintaining public health measures after receiving the vaccination. The New York Times quoted Dr. Jeffrey Shaman, an epidemiologist at Columbia University, who stressed, “If we start thinking, ‘We’ve got a vaccine, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, we can stop [public health measures] in a couple of months’ — that’s way too soon.” The vaccine provides collective protection, herd immunity; therefore, individuals should continue to wear masks, wash hands, and social distance to avoid another resurgence of the virus. Many public health officials stress that the fight is not over and we will continue to operate in a pandemic environment until at least July of 2021.
COVID-19 Testing Site: Hagerty
COVID-19 has had lasting repercussions across the globe. The Guardian reported that the virus has resulted in $3.7 trillion in lost earnings for workers across the world, according to findings from the International Labour Organization (ILO). Women and younger workers have faced the greatest loss in hours and job losses, with the ILO noting in its yearly analysis of the global jobs market that 8.8 percent of working hours were lost in 2020, relative to 2019. The percentage is the equivalent to 255 million full-time positions.
The emergence of new contagious variants of the virus has pushed the medical community to vaccinate as many people as possible while fostering research on the efficacy of existing vaccines against the new viral strains. CBS News spoke with researchers at a high-risk biohazard lab in Durban, South Africa, where Senior Researcher Alex Sigal of the Africa Health Research Institute and Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology said the new South African COVID-19 strain might reduce the efficacy of antibodies in patients infected with the original virus strain by a significant amount. “Ten-fold would be conservative,” Sigal told CBS News, cautioning those infected during the first wave would have little protection against the new strain. United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Boris Johnson also cautioned the new COVID-19 variant in the UK could prove more dangerous than the original strain, according to CNBC.
With the evolution of new strains, pharmaceutical companies such as Moderna have started work on vaccines to protect against COVID-19 variants. In laboratory tests, Moderna reported its COVID-19 vaccine creates an immune response that protects against the COVID-19 variants first identified in the UK and South Africa, according to The Washington Post. Moderna reported a response reduction to the new variants, leading the company to call for incorporating a third shot to the two-dose regimen to increase the current vaccine’s potency. In an interview with Squawk Box for CNBC, Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel added that due to the changing variants, “we decided to take into the clinic, out of an abundance of caution, a new vaccine.” The New York Times also reported setbacks stemming from China’s COVID-19 vaccines; with officials in Brazil and Turkey reporting that Chinese companies such as Sinovac have been slow to ship vaccine doses and ingredients, while Malaysian and Singaporean officials have reassured citizens the vaccines would only be approved after the government proved they were safe and effective.
Hagerty Assists at a COVID-19 Testing Site: Hagerty
Throughout the past year, Hagerty has and continues to work with health departments, healthcare associations, and emergency management agencies to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2, 2020, Hagerty professionals have been directly embedded in the response to COVID-19 nationwide, supporting clients from New York to California. Hagerty continues to help create and implement innovative public health and emergency management best practices, having observed first-hand the health, safety, and security issues facing federal, state, and local government entities nationwide. From our vast experience during the pandemic, Hagerty provides clients with a robust and deeply nuanced approach to real-world incident preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery.
Hagerty’s COVID-19 Response and Recovery
STAY UPDATED AND LEARN MORE HERE:
- John Hopkins University’s Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases Map
- CDC Guidance on Cloth Face Coverings
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus Situation Updates by CDC
- World Health Organization Coronavirus Information
- World Health Organization Interactive COVID-19 Response
- Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Vaccination
Keep track of Hagerty’s incident coverage here: