HometownMcLennan County


Local health experts warn of potential COVID-19 spike following NYE celebrations

Posted at 12:55 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 13:55:45-05

WACO, TX — In less than 24 hours, we will be welcoming in the New Year. After many hurdles in 2020, many are ready to celebrate a brighter year to come, but we need to be careful.

"I encourage everyone, do not let your guard down! We have got to keep pulling together and working together to get through this," said Dr. Kelley Reynolds, Chief Medical Officer with the Family Health Center.

The message is simple, yet important, as coronavirus still poses a significant threat. This year, it changed the lives for millions across the world, making 2020, a year to remember.

"It certainly has been a very challenging time," said Dr. Reynolds.

"It's obviously something that none of us could have predicted," said Dr. Ben Wilson, Associate Cheif Officer with the Family Health Center.

Restricting large gatherings is one way to try and reduce the spread of the virus. Regardless, people still gathered, especially during this holiday season.

"We look back to Halloween, we were averaging 50 a day, and the week after Halloween, that was 100 a day, and hospitalizations went up," said Kelly Craine with the Waco-Mclennan County Public Health District.

And with TSA numbers reporting over 7 million people had been screened at TSA checkpoints the week prior to Christmas, the Health Department is concerned.

"The long-term effects of that, which was two months, we still see it, and that is the concern that we had Thanksgiving, Christmas and now new years," said Craine.

A big reason why doctors are asking the community to be mindful of gatherings for New Year.

"We have far too many patients that are sick, the virus is still spreading, there are still critically ill people and people dying from COVID-19. We have got to keep up our vigilance up right now," said Dr. Reynolds.

Dr. Wilson agrees, and says the community must continue to follow necessary measures like washing your hands, wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding large gatherings. Regardless of what festivities may be occurring.

"I wish that I could say that the pandemic took into consideration whether we were having holidays or not.
If we could get everyone to do the basic measures from the beginning, it would make a huge difference," said Dr. Wilson.

A difference everyone is searching for, in 2021.

"I know everyone wants to celebrate, and its a very happy time, we have the vaccine and we are happy. But we have to remember, just to hold on a little longer. Spring is coming, and we will soon all be together," said Craine.