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University of Michigan Epidemiologist Dr. Emily Martin highlights the accomplishments and pitfalls of our second pandemic year, and what to expect going into 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has shifted dramatically in 2021, from the widespread availability of vaccines to children and adults, the arrival of deadly variants, and the changing regulations on masks.

As the emerging threat of the Omicron variant looms over holiday gatherings, Dr. Emily Martin urges continued caution and vaccination going into our third pandemic year.

“Even when the disease progresses to that more kind of moderate to severe level, still people who are vaccinated do better than people who are not vaccinated.” — Dr. Emily Martin, University of Michigan 


Listen: The 2021 pandemic year in review.


Guest 

Dr. Emily Martin is an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She says the major milestone of 2021 was the development and widespread administration of the COVID-19 vaccine, “I don’t want to forget what a momentous accomplishment that was… to get there in under a year was incredible.”

With case numbers continuing to rise in certain areas, Martin suggests more mask mandates and wider vaccination requirements to help protect young children or immunocompromised individuals who are unable to get vaccinated. “It makes things more inclusive and accessible to everybody when we do that,” she says.  

Martin says at this point in the pandemic, most people that are hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, “Even when the disease progresses to that more kind of moderate to severe level, still people who are vaccinated do better than people who are not vaccinated.” She says the next pandemic year should come with higher-level unified action against the spread of COVID-19,  “I think 2022 is really gonna be an international focus… we’ve gotta get the world vaccinated.”

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