JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - As COVID-19 cases climb, Phase 2 took effect Monday, and a local Jonesboro student contracts the virus, Dr. Shane Speights with NYIT shared his thoughts on the matter.
Dr. Speights says while we all did a great job in the beginning by lowering the number of infections, the virus didn’t go away.
“Because this is a new virus that the body has never seen before, and we don’t have a medication to treat the virus, there are really only two options, to get infected or get the vaccine,” he says. “That is why it is so important to protect yourself and your family (i.e. hand washing and wearing a mask). This vaccine will not be ready until 2021.”
As the region enters Phase 2, we still see the state’s overall positive cases increase. Dr. Speights says it’s largely an individual’s responsibility to follow guidelines or not.
“You can’t expect the government to hand out tickets if you’re not wearing a mask, or I didn’t see you wash your hands and there’s some regulation against that,” he says. “I think the guidance has been put out, I think it’s great, it’s important, specific to what people need to know. It’s up to the individual person and organization, institution to follow that guidance.”
He then addressed the JPS student athlete’s positive case of COVID-19, but the virus doesn’t pick and choose who gets it.
“It’s not a matter of if, it’s when and this is not specific to any institution,” he says. “There’s going to be an NYIT student to test positive, there’s going to be an NYIT faculty or staff to test positive.”
Dr. Speights says it’s important to be diligent to maintain lower numbers of infections, so patients do not overwhelm medical institutions.
“Either the population knows and understands this virus and understands the effects and is willing to step up to do the right thing for the people around them or they’re wanting to do their own thing,” he says.
He doesn’t see an end to COVID-19 anytime soon.
“I think through the summer, we’re going to continue to see this. You might have a little pocket or outbreak here or outbreak there is a certain, specific setting,” he says. “From most researchers, scientists, individuals, public health individuals that are watching this, we’re watching it fall. We’re watching things come back and move back to normal when you’re talking about K-12, colleges, and universities.”