‘January will be a very telling month for us’ as pandemic drags into 2021, RI doctor says

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WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, predicted January could be the worst month of the coronavirus pandemic yet, and a local doctor says from what she’s seen so far, it’s certainly trending that way.

Dr. Laura Forman, Kent Hospital’s chief of emergency medicine and medical director of the Cranston field hospital, tells 12 News that, based on what she’s seeing in Rhode Island, she agrees with Fauci.

“I think January will be a very telling month for us,” Forman said. “We are really worried about what’s going to happen over the next couple of weeks given people’s behavior over New Year’s.”

It’s behavior that she said includes not just the holidays, but pandemic fatigue as well.

“Pandemic fatigue that continues to worsen as time goes on, and people become less and less careful,” she said. “People feel like they made it this far without getting sick and losing anyone to covid, and so that has had an impact on behavior.”

She also said many have a false sense of security as more and more people get vaccinated.

“The vaccination is here, we are also concerned that will change people’s behavior for the worst because they feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we are nowhere near herd immunity,” Forman said.

She said the field hospital, unfortunately, will be around for awhile, as cases continue to climb.

“We will be discharging our 100th patient either today or tomorrow, which will be an exciting and sad milestone for us, but we have definitely seen a steady stream of patients coming into the field hospital,” she said. “We talk about when we might be able to close it down but at this point there are no plans to do that anytime soon.”

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