Letter: The job is not yet done
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic one year ago, it has been a long struggle to adopt a new normal of increased hand washing and sanitizing, face coverings, maintaining physical distance, adjustments to work and school arrangements, and restrictions on social gatherings and travel. With the approval of three vaccines in the United States comes the expectation that COVID-19 will soon be over, and we can resume our old normal life. But the job is not yet done. We may have COVID fatigue, but we still need to make thoughtful choices about our behavior and persevere with our new normal for a little longer.
Although our vulnerable populations have now mostly been vaccinated, and both eligibility for and availability of the vaccine are expanding rapidly, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is still investigating these questions: How many people need to be vaccinated, or to have had COVID-19, before the community can be considered protected; how effective the vaccines are against new variants of the virus; and how long one remains immune to COVID-19 after being vaccinated?
Also, children age 16 and younger are not eligible for the vaccination program until further studies are conducted.
Thus, whether fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or not, we need to continue wearing a face covering in public spaces, staying 6 feet apart where possible from people outside our own household, avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces, and washing our hands often.
To our visitors from states that have abandoned these measures, we urge you to respect our local regulations.
We can certainly see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we must be patient. Compliance with these precautions can and will save lives. The job is not yet done.
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