COVID-19 One Year Later: What We’ve Learned Since The Pandemic Began

Here’s what Valleywise Health has learned about COVID-19 one year later.

2020 brought a lot of challenges — the biggest being the novel coronavirus. But what have we learned about COVID-19 one year later? Here are five key takeaways about the pandemic since its spread in Arizona.

We are Resilient

The communities that we work in took quick action in response to the pandemic. We implemented mask-wearing in public and changed the way that we gathered in groups. Family gatherings and celebrations went from in-person to being held over video chat. Local businesses redefined the workforce by allowing their employees to work from home instead of a traditional office environment.

There are New Approaches to Vaccines

Messenger RNA vaccines — or mRNA vaccines — are a type of vaccine that protects against COVID-19. Researchers have been working with mRNA vaccines for decades. In fact, Moderna and Pfizer use this same technology in their COVID-19 vaccines.

The mRNA vaccine works by providing our cells instructions to make a spike protein unique to the COVID-19 virus. Your body recognizes this protein as foreign material, which then causes you to produce antibodies specific to that spike protein. Once our cells make copies of the protein, they destroy the instructions from the vaccine. From that point, if you come in contact with the virus, and specifically that spike protein, you already have the antibodies in place to prevent you from getting very sick. It’s important to keep in mind that there is no virus in this vaccine and our cells only provide the spike protein, nothing else.

There are Still Questions About the COVID-19 Vaccine

Getting the COVID-19 vaccine out as quickly as possible protects people from getting sick — or so ill that it would put them in the hospital. But some individuals wonder if they can transmit the virus to someone else after receiving the vaccine. The medical community does not know the answer to this question; however, researchers are currently looking into this.

Telehealth Medicine is Here to Stay

Telehealth will continue to play a large role in how physicians interact with patients. This service allows you to access healthcare wherever you are. Imagine not having to skip a day of work to meet with your doctor. All you need is a phone or computer to connect with a Valleywise Health provider. They’ll be able to make treatment recommendations and even prescribe medication without you having to step foot in a doctor’s office.

Mental Health is Important

We’ve gone through a lot during this pandemic. Not being able to gather with loved ones and experiencing periods of isolation has caused many to feel down and out. Humans are social creatures, and we are not designed to go without social interaction for long periods, which is why taking care of your mental health is so important.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a behavioral health concern, Valleywise Health is here to help. We have behavioral health services that provide personalized care to support your brain health and improve your overall well-being. Our dedicated team of professionals works one-on-one with you to achieve your goals in a safe and comfortable environment.

We’ve learned a lot about COVID-19 one year later. If you have questions about COVID-19, visit nearby Valleywise Community Health Center or call 1 (833) VLLYWSE to schedule an in-person or virtual appointment.



About the Author

Ross F. Goldberg, MD, FACS - Surgery

Dr. Ross Goldberg is a District Medical Group physician and the Specialty Ambulatory Medical Director and the Vice-Chairman for the Department of Surgery at Valleywise Health. He is an Associate Professor of Surgery at the Creighton University School of Medicine and The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix. He is a practicing Board-Certified General Surgeon at Valleywise Health, as well as an active participant in the General Surgery Residency Program and in teaching medical students across the Valley.

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