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Changing behaviors -- not vaccine alone -- will help put pandemic behind us, doctor says

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Posted at 5:14 PM, Feb 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-08 18:32:30-05

CLEVELAND — With thousands of needles going into the arms of Americans every day, there's a lot of hype surrounding COVID-19 vaccines. However, along with the hope they bring, there are continued calls for vigilance.

At a time when a lot was still unknown, Justice Hill found himself diagnosed with COVID-19.

“I just felt awful. My symptoms were relatively mild,” said Hill.

Since his diagnosis in March of last year, Hill has grown more frustrated with people who are not doing their part to help.

“We’re putting so much pressure on the government, and in the case of Ohio, Mike DeWine, to get people to behave differently,” said Hill.

Without that willingness to change and embrace masking-up, staying apart and maintaining hand hygiene, Hill said he worries about the future.

“They don’t understand that the problem isn’t the science, the problem is them. If we do those things the chances are we can contain this virus. Who wants to go another two years or more like this? I don’t,” said Hill.

Dr. Shanina Knighton, an infection preventionist at Case Western Reserve University said Hill's concerns are valid.

“There are other deadly bacteria that are out there, other deadly viruses, deadly fungus,” said Knighton.

Not only does Knighton say we need more people to follow prevention guidelines—for those who do, she wants to see messaging on how to do things like wear a mask and how to wash hands properly.

“We’ve given America a crash course in infection prevention overnight. They’re being told what to do but they’re not being told how to do it and why they should do it and I think that is the part that has been missing,” said Knighton.

The vaccines, in tandem with changed behavior, is what Knighton said we need to put this pandemic behind us.

“I want individuals that choose to not participate in these practices, and I’m saying choose because it is a choice, to do the right thing and to be unselfish,” said Knighton.

Even though he's on tap for his shot next week, Hill still plans to stay the course even though he will soon be vaccinated.

“Continue to do the masking, the social distancing, down to the big gatherings and things like that I will continue to do that,” said Hill.

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