Ten months ago when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Sullivan County back in March, not many people realized just how dramatically this would change our lives. With the exception of those …
Ten months ago when the first case of COVID-19 was detected in Sullivan County back in March, not many people realized just how dramatically this would change our lives. With the exception of those people who worked in the healthcare field or had background working in the fields of infectious diseases, not many understood the gravity of the situation.
Ten months later and we've seen first hand the destruction this virus has brought. Nearly 420,000 have died nationwide - including 60 in Sullivan County. Jobs and businesses have been lost. People's lives have been upended.
Despite some positive news on the vaccine front, there's those in the healthcare industry and in the new Biden administration that warn this pandemic will likely get worse before it gets better. This is no time to let our guard down or to stop wearing masks and social distancing.
In the weeks since December 31, six more people have died from the virus in Sullivan County. The upward trend of active cases that began in October with numbers in the mid 80s have now risen to 253 with 727 people reported in quarantine.
It was just announced on Sunday that the Middletown City Hall in Orange County would be completely closed to the public due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19. We have a long winter ahead of us and things could become worse if we become careless. If we're committed to not shutting down our communities and economy again like we did last year, then we must follow the guidelines that reduce the risk of that happening.
More and more Americans are becoming eligible to receive the vaccine despite its limited supply. The initial rollout has been sluggish, but it will undoubtedly become more widely available in the coming months.
Some people have reasoned that since they're younger or healthier they should wait to get vaccinated. But we encourage everyone who has the opportunity to receive the COVID-19 vaccine to get one.
When you get the vaccination you're not the only person that benefits. You're helping the larger community as well by cutting down on the chances of transmission and thereby reducing the strain on our healthcare system and its frontline workers. If a family member falls ill and you're inoculated against the virus then you're better able to care for them.
Some people have said that if they've already gotten the virus and recovered from it then there's no need for them to receive the vaccine because their immune system is now able to resist the virus. Nevertheless, immunologists and infectious disease experts suggest these people still receive the vaccine.
There's still much we don't know about this virus, including how long someone's immunity lasts after infection and how the emergence of new and more virulent strains of the virus will affect different people.
If we want to finally get this virus under control, our best option continues to be wearing masks, practicing social distancing and getting a vaccine when it becomes available. Godspeed and may we all remain healthy.
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