DuBOIS — Life returning to normal after COVID-19 is not going to happen quickly in 2021, according to Penn Highlands Healthcare Medical Director and COVID-19 Task Force Leader Shaun Sheehan.

“I wish I could say it would be the spring and that we can plan to make vacations and do all the things that everybody is desiring to do,” Sheehan said at last week’s media teleconference. “It’s not going to happen that fast. Citing Dr. Anthony Fauci, it’s believed that we can achieve herd immunity by the fall of this year. Potentially by the end of 2021 we may return to normal.”

Sheehan said his hopes for PHH and their communities is that “we get through this, are a better, stronger society, that we learned how to work together, that we’re more prepared for the next pandemic, whenever that may be.”

He said he also hopes that the public health sector has improved and that lessons learned are taken very seriously.

“I think that we have to do our best to protect each other by practicing safety precautions so that we can all play an effective role in mitigating the spread of this virus,” said Sheehan. “And we hope that individuals will make a strong commitment to their own health this year, by seeing their providers, both routine care and any medical need that may arise. I can tell you as an emergency room physician we often, unfortunately, are seeing people delay getting care for things that really can’t wait. So it’s still important to get in and be seen if you need to be seen.”

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