Coronavirus cases have dropped even more in Nashville, with two days of fewer than 100 new cases. That’s likely because it’s harder to get tested right now with sites closed all week for winter weather. Still, the weather could be a net positive for slowing the pandemic.
On one hand, COVID vaccine shipments have been delayed, clinics have cancelled all appointments for the week, and public testing centers are shut down until next week. But people are also stuck at home. The weather has forced people to do what could have helped for the last year — stay home.
“I do think we’ll see a positive outcome from that,” says Dr. Alex Jahangir, coronavirus task force chair for the city. “We’ll see how it plays out in a week or two.”
Jahangir, a trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says he’s consulted with infectious disease specialists at the hospital who endorse his hypothesis.
But one professor of infectious disease at VUMC, Dr. William Schaffner, says he’s too concerned about the long-term effects of the vaccination slowdown to celebrate the benefits of being snowbound. He says vaccinations were just gaining momentum, and now many seniors are waiting on their second doses.
“I think the snow slowing down transmission of the virus temporarily is nice,” he says. “But we need to get our vaccination program back in gear as quickly as possible.”
The White House has asked vaccination sites to not just delay appointments but to try and make up the time with extended hours.