Doctors Optimistic About COVID-19 Battle One Year After First Case

Feb 26, 2021, 6:49 PM | Updated: 8:16 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — One year ago, Utah doctors were preparing to treat the first COVID-19 patient in the state. Doctors at Intermountain Healthcare said they are optimistic about the battle against the virus, but there’s still a long way to go.

Since the first patient arrived at Intermountain Healthcare, many Utahns have suffered in a variety of ways, and more than 1,900 have died. Doctors said immunity is growing by the day.

“It’s been a tough, challenging year, and yet, we find ourselves in a really great place where there’s a lot of optimism about the future,” said chief physician executive Dr. Mark Briesacher.

He said there’s reason to be optimistic, as the community remains cautious about not spreading the virus.

New cases of coronavirus, hospitalizations and deaths have declined nationwide, including those in Utah. All health districts across the state have reported decreases in case counts for all age groups. At the same time, 682,536 doses of the vaccine have been administered, and more than 70% of Utahns 70 years old and older have received their first dose.

Health officials have been watching for the possibility of a surge in cases from variants of the virus that have emerged nationally.

“We’ll be ready for a fourth surge if it occurs,” Briesacher said. “I think that we as a community have to be ready to respond rapidly with the things that we know make a difference.”

The significant improvement addressing the virus, he said, was mostly due to people masking up and social distancing, and the vaccines.

Based on the number of people who have had the virus over the past three months and those who have been vaccinated, protection in the population has been rising.

“With a combination of both (vaccine) and some assumptions, we are probably between 40% and 50% immune,” he said.

He said he believes that could grow to 50% to 60% immunity in April and May, and above 70% by June and July.

He said that’s based on assumptions that the vaccines remain effective, and previous infections remain protective against the rising variants, and that vaccine supply is delivered as expected.

“As our immunity grows, we will be getting to a point where we can and will relax those restrictions on public gatherings, and I think wearing a mask will become less important,” Briesacher said.

He said we’re not there yet.

“For now, let’s hang in there, and stick with it because it’s making a difference,” Briesacher said.

He acknowledged that getting vaccinated is a personal choice, but encouraged everyone, when it is their turn, to get the protection.
KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Coronavirus Utah

The Nurse Crisis and Patent Risk....
Debbie Worthen

Utah registered nurses are leaving the field, creating the ‘perfect storm’

"Without nurses, we can't have hospitals." Utah nurses are overworked and underpaid. Some say it's put people at risk.
7 days ago
Four-year-old Viola Fairfax-Panza Getting her COVID-19 vaccination, held by her mother Keke Fairfax...
Jed Boal

Salt Lake Co. distributes COVID vaccines for children 6-months and older

Salt Lake County begins COVID-19 vaccinations for children 6 months and older.
7 days ago
FILE PHOTO (Photo by Stephen Zenner/Getty Images)...
Jed Boal

Utah’s youngest kids should be able to get COVID-19 vaccine next week

Kids as young as 6 months old should be able to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of next week. This is an eagerly awaited opportunity for many parents and an issue of concern for others.
11 days ago
Utah COVID testing site. Getty images...
Cary J. Schwanitz, KSL TV

New mobile COVID-19 testing sites open in Utah

With the summer travel season underway and a steady stream of people still testing positive for COVID-19, Nomi Health opened several mobile testing sites across Utah.
20 days ago
The CDC is released updated mask guidance as researchers learn more about COVID-19. (KSL TV)...
Michael Houck, KSL TV

Charter school asks students not to mask to help ‘normalize’ not wearing masks at school

The American Preparatory Academy asks students not to wear a mask during their last three days of school to help with their 'academic and emotional growth.'
1 month ago
AURORA, CO - DECEMBER 15: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY) Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center investigat...
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Pfizer booster shot is now approved for children 5-11, here’s what a doctor advises

The CDC now recommends Pfizer COVID-19 booster shots for children ages five to 11. But, a leading pediatric epidemiologist suggests some parents may want to wait based on their summer plans.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Doctors Optimistic About COVID-19 Battle One Year After First Case