SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As the healthcare system grapples with labor shortages and capacity constraints, health experts are optimistic about 2022.

For many Americans, this holiday season may be remembered for hours spent in long testing lines. The state’s positive test rate has more than doubled over the past month, and the current case count mirrors last December, when the state was experiencing its second COVID-19 surge.

Massachusetts on Tuesday has now surpassed one million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. It’s a milestone that will mean roughly one out of seven people in the state has tested positive at some point in the past two years.

Dr. Armando Paez, an Infectious Disease Physician at Baystate Health told 22News, “The cases are going up, and I know it’s really fatiguing in terms of going through this again but we have to use these measures, social distancing, washing hands and masking.”

Optimistically, some experts say that COVID-19 could lose its “pandemic” status sometime in 2022, due to rising global vaccination rates and developments of antiviral COVID-19 pills that could become more widespread next year.

Like other respiratory viruses, there will be times of the year when COVID-19 infections peak, most likely in the fall and winter months, meaning COVID-19 and flu seasons could regularly coincide going forward.