SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A total of 19,181 Massachusetts residents are part of the one million people who have died from COVID-19 in the United States.

However, medical advancements in the last two years have come a long way. Doctor Armando Paez, the Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at Baystate Health, said rate at which people are dying from COVID-19 has reached a plateau. State data shows how far we’ve come from the initial spike in April of 2020.

“That really speaks to the vaccination efforts we had and of course the natural immunity from the recent omicron surge,” said Doctor Paez. When it comes to measuring COVID-19 these days, Doctor Paez said he looks at hospitalizations.

According to Wednesday’s numbers from Baystate Health, 60 patients in the hospital have COVID,
with three in critical care. He said those numbers show how low the severity currently is.

However with cases rising, Doctor Paez told 22News people at higher risk for severe illness should do what they can to avoid getting sick.

“But then if you are vaccinated, boosted, there’s really less of a chance of you being hospitalized because of that,” he said.

It took two years to reach one million COVID deaths in the US, but thanks to medical advances Doctor Paez said it will be a lot longer before we ever reach two million.

“With the progress we’ve made about therapeutics, about how we do things in terms of doing surveillance of the variants and doing testing, we should really learn things from this experience, and I think we really learned a lot,” Doctor Paez said.

Doctor Paez expects COVID will have a few small surges each year, not as common as the cold, but more common than seasonal flu. However, it all depends on the variants.