Mary LaSalvia, MD (Infectious Disease, BIDMC) and Kenneth Wener, MD (Infectious Disease, LHMC) joined with other Boston infectious disease experts to address the COVID-19 pandemic and share 2021 resolutions in an opinion piece for the Boston Globe.

Boston Globe – December 31, 2020

Boston infectious disease specialists: Our New Year’s resolutions

Dr. Gabriela Andujar Vasquez gets the first shot of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Tufts Medical Center.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff

Over the course of this past year, as local leaders in infectious diseases, we have extended our collective voice to our fellow residents of Massachusetts to address the COVID-19 pandemic. As we ring in a new year, here are our resolutions; please consider joining us.

Resolution #1: We resolve to double down on measures to protect ourselves, our families, and our community so we may endure the current surge of COVID-19 cases. Weall can do our part by covering our faces anytime we are with anyone outside our immediate household, by maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance, following hand hygiene and environmental control measures, and by not going to work or school when feeling unwell. Masking, including while indoors, is safe and more effective in preventing COVID-19 — including the coronavirus mutation first seen in England — than any other tool we have available today and clearly works to prevent transmission of the virus.

Resolution #2: We resolve to cooperate with the data-driven measures that Governor Charlie Baker has implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 and allow schools and businesses to remain open. Limiting the number of people allowed in stores, places of worship, etc., provides an additional layer of prevention to the universal measures of masking and hand hygiene. Fortunately, we have learned that schools can operate safely and with minimal risk to students, teachers, and staff. We share the goal of returning students to full-time, in-person learning and appreciate that this may require resources and sacrifices, including financial and other support for changes to facilities and personal protective equipment for teachers as well as sacrifices by the public in taking measures to reduce community spread. Avoiding interactions at places like gyms and restaurants will help to mitigate spread and must be prioritized.

Resolution #3: We resolve not to give the vaccine more work to do. The rapid development and authorization of two vaccines was an incredible scientific achievement. These vaccines, as well as others that may soon follow, provide hope for aninflection point in this pandemic and a return to a more normal life. However, it will take time until we get a large majority of the population vaccinated to reach a point when the virus no longer circulates in the community. Widespread vaccine uptake can avert a larger proportion of infections when there is less disease circulating in the community. When we roll up our sleeves for the vaccine, it will be more effective if transmission is under control. Which brings us to:

Resolution #4: When it’s our turn, we resolve to embrace vaccination and encourage our family, friends, and neighbors to do the same.

For this New Year, please stay home and celebrate with your household or virtually with friends and family. By giving the gift of a small New Year’s celebration, you will protect yourself, your family, and your neighbors. The light at the end of the tunnel is ahead and we know that if we can persevere, we will all be able to celebrate in 2021 … together.