By JOSH RESNEK
At the beginning of the summer, there was the wide- spread belief held among many of us that the virus had passed us by, that restrictions on our lives were at an end, and that the new normal was taking over.
Massachusetts residents flocked to get vaccinated, virus numbers dipped, hospitalizations dropped, deaths came to a nearly total end.
That was then, this is now.
“We have underestimated this virus and celebrated prematurely,” said Ali Mokdad, a professor who has projected COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths throughout the pandemic at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
The harsh predictions of another rising wave of the virus among the Massachusetts population come as the state and the nation grapple with whether to adopt new restrictions in hopes of slowing COVID’s renewed spread.
Last week, Governor Charlie Baker enacted one of the nation’s strictest vaccination requirements for state employees, while Acting Mayor Kim Janey on Friday announced a mask mandate for indoor public places in Boston, a measure that takes effect at 8 a.m. on Aug. 27 as the city continues to battle the virus.
In Everett, there have been no calls by the mayor for the mandatory vaccination of all city employees.
The virus variant is spreading dangerously among school-aged children. Hospital ICU pediatric units in Florida and other southern “red” states are filled to capacity in all those states where vaccinations are believed to be part of a government conspiracy to run our lives.
Surges in Texas, California, Florida North Carolina, and Georgia could result in the deaths of an additional 157,000 Americans between the end of August and December, according to virus experts.
Experts are predicting at least 1,900 deaths from COVID in Massachusetts into the fall if the state and our cities and towns don’t change course of mask mandates.
Massachusetts has lost 17,800 people to the COVID.
On Friday, state officials here announced 1,459 new cases.
Everett does not release exact statistics, but it is believed at least several hundred residents died of the virus during the past year.
It is not known how many new infections have been reported here as that reportage has stopped.
Social distancing and wearing masks are believed to be the two most effective antidotes to the spread of the virus.
Unless something is done statewide, and soon, the return of the virus will again negatively impact our lives and cause the hospitalization and deaths of many residents.
With public schools about to reopen, fears of the unknown are mixing with what is known, creating an environment of doubt and concern for parents, teachers, school employees, and administrators.