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COVID-19 still a problem

We figured we could celebrate when the nation reached the goal of having at least one shot of COVID-19 vaccine in 70% of American adults. But let’s hold off on the celebration party for now.

We have reached that 70% goal, about a month after President Joe Biden’s hopeful target of July 4, but the fight against COVID-19 seems as desperate as ever.

We have relatively low infection rates here in the North Country, but that is not the case in other parts of the nation.

The delta variant is running rampant in many parts of the country, forcing infection rates to skyrocket and hospitals to become overburdened once again.

Things have been getting so bad in some places, especially the deep south, that mask and social distancing mandates are being re-implemented for indoor public settings, including schools and colleges.

A medical center chain in Florida recently reported a 140% increase in people hospitalized by the virus in the past two weeks.

It could only be a matter of time before the nasty wave of delta variant spreads and supplants itself in our midst. We must continue to beware of this virus.

While the effort to increase the number of those vaccinated is moving forward, the rate of success is still too slow. There continues to be a segment of the population that are fiercely anti-vaccine for various reasons.

It seems that the evidence is now clear that vaccines not only work to stop the spread, they keep you alive. We have not seen any serious indications of problems with the vaccines in terms of severe side effects or reactions.

The science seems solid, and we should trust that getting vaccinated is in all of our best interests.

We will be reopening a new school year soon and the worry is what will happen to students, teachers and staff if the delta variant is not tamed.

It is likely that mask, and maybe even vaccine mandates will be called for in schools in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.

Children under 12 cannot get vaccinated, but they can transmit the virus, making schools potentially a dangerous place. Although it may be burdensome, masks and social distancing will probably be necessary.

We’ve endured COVID for 17 months now, so we can certainly sacrifice for a few more.

If stricter measures are installed in schools, we hope people will react with reason and understand that such measures are not about control or taking anyone’s freedom, but rather simply protecting people from sickness and a horrible death.

And yes, deaths by COVID-19, of which we’ve had dozens in the North Country, are horrible and unbearable for family members.

So please, if you are not vaccinated, get the shot and do your part in keeping yourself, your family and friends and your community safe.

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