EDITORIAL: Latest covid spike shows continued need for patience

ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE Robert Purtell of Amsterdam receives his first shot of the Moderna COVID vaccine from Montgomery County DOH Assistant Director Jessica Marotta in Fonda on Jan. 8.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE
Robert Purtell of Amsterdam receives his first shot of the Moderna COVID vaccine from Montgomery County DOH Assistant Director Jessica Marotta in Fonda on Jan. 8.

Impatience can be a dangerous thing.

And for those of us anxious for the covid pandemic to end so we can resume our normal lives, that’s especially true.

The return to normalcy has started. But we’re not there yet.

And if you think we’re beyond the bad old days of seeing big spikes in cases, look no further than Saratoga Springs High School, where about two dozen students contracted the virus recently.

Officials believe the outbreak was largely the result of a teen party in Lake George the weekend of April 10.

Mass gatherings among unvaccinated people ignoring the protocols are still among the fastest way to spread the virus.

Even 14 or 15 months into the pandemic, with all the information we have and with all the disruption of our lives, some people still haven’t learned that basic lesson.

As a result of the latest spike, the school’s football and volleyball seasons were put on pause and school returned to remote instruction for a short time.

More importantly from a public health standpoint, the gathering created a situation in which these students could spread the virus even further — to parents, grandparents, friends and acquaintances who haven’t yet been fully vaccinated.

While the vaccine roll-out has gone well and there are many openings for shots in many places, we are nowhere near the 75% vaccination level we need to achieve herd immunity.

As of Thursday afternoon, only 43% of state residents had been partially vaccinated against the virus, and only 29.7% had been fully vaccinated. Nationwide as of Thursday, only 40.9% of the population had gotten one dose of a vaccine and only 26.9% had been fully vaccinated.

The national trend on cases and deaths is generally downward. Yet some places — including Michigan, Maine, Minnesota, Florida and Puerto Rico — have all seen a disturbingly high spike in hospitalizations in the last two weeks — some nearing record levels.

We’re almost there! Now is not the time to get complacent and let down our guard.

Vaccinations are available to anyone over age 16. If you haven’t gotten your shot(s), find a vaccination site in your area and get one. It shouldn’t be difficult.

In the meantime, keep taking basic precautions. Wear your mask indoors and around others. Social distance. Wash your hands and disinfect surfaces. Don’t gather together in large numbers.

If we all keep at it, this will be over soon and our patience will be rewarded.

We just got a vivid reminder of what can happen if we don’t.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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