OPINION: Be smart, be safe

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As we write this, COVID-19 numbers are on the rise across the province, including here in Chatham-Kent.

In short, we aren’t ready to go back to “normal.”

But we might be closer than we’ve been in some time…if we continue to respect social distancing and masking guidelines.

These days, the majority of outbreaks in Chatham-Kent are taking place in elementary schools, notorious germ-breeding and germ-sharing grounds.

Of course, back when these children’s parents were kids themselves, they didn’t have to face the COVID-19 virus. They just passed around most any cold or flu virus that came along.

Let’s face it, back in those days, it was long considered the best way to build up our children’s immune systems by exposing them to various illnesses as they grew.

Naturally, they came home and unintentionally shared much of the germs, viruses and bacteria with the rest of the family.

Well, with COVID-19, therein lies the problem. A child with a strong immune system may fare OK against COVID-19, but other family members, such as grandparents or people with compromised immune systems, may not.

So, seeing vaccinations against COVID-19 for kids aged five to 11 is heartening. Elementary schools are the petri dishes for the virus these days, it seems, so why not limit impact and how contagious the virus is in these locations?

Yes, people who are fully vaccinated are still getting COVID-19, but in the vast, vast majority of cases, the impact of the virus is much milder than in the unvaccinated, and the shedding of the virus is less contagious from people who are vaccinated.

So, as children receive improved defence against the virus, it’s up to the rest of us to hold out a little longer.
Wear masks where required, and use your head in situations to minimize the chance of exposure. For example, the Dresden Night Market was a big hit on the weekend, but, despite the fact people were outdoors, because of the inability to social distance, more people should have sported masks than what we saw.

We don’t advocate isolating in your home, blockading the door against outsiders and never interacting face-to-face with friends and loved ones who don’t live with you. That’s a serious mental health issue waiting to happen. Just…be smart and be safe.

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