EDITORIAL: Get used to old covid protocols again

ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE Nurses Kaylin McCarthy, left, and Ingrid Melton demonstrate the setup for antibody infusion therapy before seeing the day's first COVID patient at the Albany Memorial Campus on Thursday.
PHOTOGRAPHER:

ERICA MILLER/THE DAILY GAZETTE
Nurses Kaylin McCarthy, left, and Ingrid Melton demonstrate the setup for antibody infusion therapy before seeing the day's first COVID patient at the Albany Memorial Campus on Thursday.

Break’s over, folks.

The covid crisis we all had hoped would be gone by fall is back. And like it or not, we must begin taking it seriously again.

With a super-virulent strain going through this time, it’s all the more important that we resume the precautions and protocols that got us to where we almost could return to normal.

That means putting on the masks again, at least when we’re indoors and even if the business or office or school doesn’t have a sign requiring or requesting them.

It means any facility with a medical function needs to require masks and mandate that staff be vaccinated.

It means educational institutions have to take the politically unpopular stance to require masks and promote staff vaccinations.

It means bars and restaurants and entertainment venues have to demand proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter.

Masks have been proven to reduce the risk of spreading the virus to a much better degree than not wearing one at all. We all got used to wearing them, especially the kids. If you don’t feel that wearing a mask protects you, at least bear some responsibility for not spreading the virus to others.

Speaking of masks, the parents who have taken strong stands against their kids wearing masks in school should educate themselves before going off on school boards that want to mandate them.

While the original covid-19 virus mainly targeted the sick and elderly, the latest variant is nowhere near as particular.

Health officials are seeing the steepest surge in covid-related hospitalizations among children since the pandemic began, with rates 4.6 times higher than they were just a few weeks ago. Otherwise healthy kids are getting sick, and often severely ill.

In Florida, which has among the nation’s most lax covid protocols, more than 10,000 students and over 300 staff members in the Hillsborough County school district had to be isolated and placed under quarantine after just one week back in school.

If our schools want to maintain in-person learning this year, they’re going to have to require masks and demand that eligible staff and students get vaccinated. Safety should be the only priority.

Otherwise, we’ll be right back to the day-to-day uncertainty over whether school is in session or kids are learning from home.

And finally, to all those who still refuse to get the vaccine, you need to be sensible now and get it.

Hundreds of millions of people have gotten the vaccine, and it’s proven to be very safe and highly effective.

Unvaccinated people are at far, far greater risk of becoming seriously ill than nonvaccinated people.

If you don’t believe it, look at the hospital crises in states like Florida, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana — states with very low vaccination rates.

If you’re still concerned about the vaccine, check with your doctor first.

The reality is we never did conquer covid, and now it’s ramping back up for a second full season.

Do all you can to be safe and to ensure the safety of others.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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