(Editor’s Note: as Veritas is only published monthly, the data in this article may not be accurate when you read it; the coronavirus epidemic is constantly evolving. For the most up-to-date information for Nantucket, please visit the Nantucket Cottage Hospital website.)

By Reese Burns, Assistant Editor

The coronavirus has officially taken the lives of over 1.7 million people worldwide, 330,000 of those in the United States alone. These numbers don’t even account for the deaths ruled as cardiac arrest or underlying health conditions that were escalated by the virus itself. In total, more than 78 million cases of the coronavirus have been reported around the world in just the short period of time it has been active.

The Pfizer Vaccine has been approved and is undergoing its initial distribution. This vaccine requires two doses, meaning that once someone receives it for the first time, they will have to return after a certain amount of time to receive their second dose. The distribution of the vaccine follows a strict priority list with the majority of those receiving it first being over 50 years old and children and young adults at the bottom. While some are still skeptical of the vaccine, influential figures receiving it themselves are assuring the population of the benefits it is expected to bring. We do not definitively know how long the entire global distribution process will take to vaccinate the majority of people. However, this is undoubtedly a step in the positive direction.

Recently, Massachusetts Governor Baker announced that further restrictions in regards to COVID-19 are going to be set into place to help stop the rapid spread. The new capacity limits will be effective on December 26th and require that industries such as restaurants, retail businesses, and offices must reduce their capacity to 25%, indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25. In addition, non-essential surgeries will be canceled to reduce the number of non-life threatening patients in hospitals.

Nantucket has reached an alarming total of 811 positive covid cases with a 9.3% weekly positivity rate. As of January 2nd, the island has lost 4 members of the community to the virus.

Following Thanksgiving and any potential family festivities and travel, Nantucket experienced an alarmingly high spike in cases. This spike continued over a number of weeks and with the holidays, it is expected that the number of cases will surge once again. The public schools went full remote after the initial spike and have made the decision to delay in-person learning from the initial return date of January 4th to January 11th, to ensure the safety of students and staff. Although the coronavirus is at an all-time high of infection, winter sports are still taking place in hopes to achieve some sense of normalcy for high school athletes with strict regulations in order to prevent any potential spread of the virus

Nantucket has received its first batch of doses of the vaccine and the initial process of vaccination has begun. Heading into the holidays, it was extra important to be safe and very diligent with your health. This year the holiday season was very different, and it is advised to continue to stay home and social distance as much as possible to help reduce the risk of another spike.

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