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Vaccine Hope Clashes With Grim Reality Of COVID-19 Numbers

The state Department of Health Services is reporting 2,799 new coronavirus infections and 171 additional deaths today. The department is attributing the majority of those deaths to death certificate matching, which accounts for COVID-related deaths not previously recorded.

On Monday, the state reported more than 10,000 new cases after the holiday weekend.

To date, 8,640 Arizonans have died of COVID-related illness since the beginning of the pandemic.

While vaccines are being distributed, the threat of so-called COVID fatigue and lax adherence to public health guidelines is contributing to significant community spread. That was true even before Thanksgiving — now, only time will tell how December holidays, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve, will impact our state.

For a look at what may be ahead in 2021, I spoke to Saskia Popescu, an epidemiologist for the University of Arizona and George Mason University.

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Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.