CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WDVM) — While West Virginia started the COVID-19 vaccine rollout as one of the fastest distributors, things have changed drastically, and the state now ranks far below the majority of the country.
This low ranking extends to several other health issues, from life expectancy to leading the nation in new HIV infections.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) brought up several of these issues to national health officials, asking them how, as the pandemic winds down, the country will handle these local epidemics. The director of the NIH suggested that post-COVID, more attention will be put towards disease prevention, rather than cure.
“If we simply are limiting ourselves to trying to help people who have already developed a severe disease, we’ve kind of missed the opportunity. Unfortunately, our healthcare system doesn’t do a great job in that situation,” said Dr. Francis S. Collins, NIH director.
Collins also said more resources should be used to conduct large-scale studies understand what environmental factors lead to people getting sick, so those can be better controlled.