The news is bleak, nevertheless, it's true. Daily confirmed COVID-19 infection cases have returned to levels not seen since mid-January, as Massachusetts struggles to deal with another surge of the coronavirus. And as you may recall, those high levels from early this year were before any of the vaccines were available to the public.

On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported over 5,400 new cases and over 1,200 hospitalizations. Out of those, 252 cases ended up in intensive care and almost 150 on ventilators.

Hospital beds across the Bay State are at full capacity in most cities and towns and the fallout from the Thanksgiving holiday has greatly contributed to the death rate which was already on the rise.

The majority of the new cases appear to derive from the delta variant, although the omicron variant, which has been detected in Massachusetts, will throw another variable into the mix.

The increasing numbers in Massachusetts come at a time when people gather for the holidays and many, vaccinated and unvaccinated alike, try to return to many of the activities and practices that were a part of their lives pre-pandemic.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, more than a third of the patients currently in the hospital with COVID-19 were fully vaccinated when they became infected.

To address hospital overcrowding, the Baker administration has taken steps to require providers with limited bed availability to halt all non-essential procedures for the time being.

Next Thursday there will be a meeting with state and health officials to assess the state of the pandemic in Massachusetts.

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Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

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