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COVID numbers still relevant in battle

America continues to open up from the frightful, tragic months of the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks to the ongoing vaccination initiative made possible by the dedicated researchers whose abilities unlocked the unknowns that were keys to the vaccines’ development.

Still, despite the vaccination progress achieved thus far, the U.S. continues to witness troubling infection levels, especially among people who have chosen risk of getting seriously ill over the opportunity to avoid that unwanted, potentially deadly fate.

Locally, there was some good news in the past week.

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Franklin County dwindled to zero on Tuesday for the second time in two weeks.

In the last month, fewer than 10 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in Franklin County, according to the state Department of Health.

Now, for what is concerning. Health officials say that the U.S. has not yet reached vaccination levels necessary to prevent transmission of the virus in communities. In addition, COVID-19 continues to rage in some countries where vaccine access remains limited or inaccessible, for whatever reason.

The bottom line today: COVID-19 has not been defeated yet, and it is impossible to predict if or when that will happen. Therefore, caution must continue to prevail amid the determined push to try to reopen the economy to some semblance of what it was before COVID-19’s arrival.

Caution is especially necessary now that a lazy, irresponsible attitude has evolved in numerous states over the reporting of new coronavirus cases, COVID-19 hospitalizations and pandemic-related death statistics.

Then there is the schedule implemented by Alabama and Florida, both of which, the other day, shifted reporting frequency to one time a week, making a mockery of the need for ongoing, up-to-date knowledge on what is or is not happening on the coronavirus front.

Only up-to-date data can zero in correctly on places where vaccine emphases ought to be directed most effectively. Only up-to-date data can battle the enemy of misconception that can undermine successes that have been attained thus far as well as important steps deemed necessary to battle problem areas, going forward.

Epidemiologists’ and researchers’ efforts suffer when an excessive amount of “old” information is what they have to guide their work and base important decisions. The pandemic has proved that even a couple of days can shift up-to-date information to the category of out-of-date, no-longer-reliable.

Epidemiologists are keeping the proverbial close eye on America’s Southern states, where vaccination rates are lagging and where cases climbed a year ago as people opted for indoor air conditioning to deal with the heat.

Having a steady flow of reliable information is not a political issue; it is mere common sense on behalf of the nation’s well-being.

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