2020 is over: When can we realistically expect things to improve?

COVID-19 won’t go away because the year ended

Due to the new year, Michigan did not release numbers from the state on COVID Thursday or Friday.

DETROIT – Due to the new year, Michigan did not release numbers from the state on COVID Thursday or Friday.

An update is expected Saturday that will contain data from the past several days.

As the vaccine rollout continues, many people are excited that 2020 is finally in the past. While that doesn’t mean coronavirus disappeared at midnight, experts are weighing in when it’s realistic to expect things to get back to normal.

Current estimates believe it’s likely to be closer to the end of 2021. While there are vaccines the number of people getting vaccinated and how fast will impact that timeline.

Dr. Matthew Sims is the director of infectious disease research at Beaumont Royal Oak. He said mask wearing, social distancing and other precautions will stay in place until at least 70% of the population is vaccinated.

“We’re going to need that until we get close to that 70%,” Sims said. “And that’s what’s going to get us through to that 70%.”

He’s not the only one who thinks that. Local 4′s own Dr. Frank McGeorge -- an ER doctor at Henry Ford -- said the same thing.

“There’s already evidence that there will be vaccine hesitancy, especially in minority communities. There are also some things we don’t know about the vaccines that will play a role -- how effectively will they stop transmission, not just symptomatic illness, that’s a big difference,” McGeorge said. “Also how long does immunity last? Those things will affect how long it takes to reach broad public immunity.”

The same thoughts are held on a national level too. Dr. Anthony Fauci said masks, social distancing and other precautions will have to stay in place until the majority of people are vaccinated.

It’s possible that restrictions could ease up over summer, but things aren’t expected to return to normal until closer to the end of the year.

About the Authors:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.

Dane is a producer and media enthusiast. He previously worked freelance video production and writing jobs in Michigan, Georgia and Massachusetts. Dane graduated from the Specs Howard School of Media Arts.