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Coronavirus is still all around us

We are heartbroken about a COVID-19 outbreak at the Champlain Valley Senior Community in Willsboro that sickened dozens of residents and killed two.

CVSC owner Eli Schwartzberg, who grew up in Saranac Lake, told the Enterprise Tuesday, “To say we are devastated by this outbreak would be an understatement. We have all worked so hard month after month, only to have the virus enter our building and spread quickly through our population right before we were scheduled for vaccination.”

Schwartzberg said he still doesn’t know how the coronavirus got into the assisted living center. It would have been hard to keep out, given how widespread the virus has been since Thanksgiving and Christmas.

We don’t know enough yet about whether CVSC’s defenses could have been better, but before anyone rushes to criticize, we suggest they could just as easily look at everyone who gathered with family or friends for these holidays, everyone who was a winter tourist, everyone who failed to wear a mask or wash their hands when interacting with people outside your household. We’re not ready to blame anyone individually, but when people, collectively, let down their guard, the coronavirus easily slips through, and this is the kind of thing that happens.

The Tri-Lakes area has done significantly better than most parts of the U.S. in terms of COVID-19 deaths, and we agree with our columnist Rich Shapiro that this is likely because people here have been taking the virus pretty seriously in their behavior. We also think our local hospital system, Adirondack Health, has done a good job and suspect that might be a factor as well.

But all that could change with one outbreak, so please, keep up the precautions. Wear masks, social distance, wash your hands, and get yourself vaccinated as soon as you can get it (and be patient in the meantime, since doses are limited).

New, more contagious strains of the virus are worrisome — including one just found in Essex County — but vaccinations will win in the end. That end keeps getting pushed back — now threatening a second summer — but we humans will prevail, and come out more resilient than before.

Still, the less people obey public health recommendations, the longer it will take to get there. Please do your part.

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