OPINION: The virus lingers

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As the late baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

That’s the case with COVID-19 as it refuses to go away.

We’re all tired of it; tired of masks; tired of social distancing; tired of vaccines and boosters.

But, even with restrictions greatly reduced, many of us still mask up and still seek to respect social distancing whenever possible.

Why? Just look at the pandemic numbers.

A few weeks ago, COVID was only crawling along. But as the restrictions were lifted, along came the next wave.

It’s reached the point where over the weekend, we saw 125 new cases reported in Chatham-Kent. This time around, however, while the number of folks in hospital is growing – we sat at 12 as of Monday – so far, the surge has not been felt in the ICU.

Unfortunately, as a COVID wave surges through the population, the last place the numbers are felt are the most important: hospitalizations and within the hospitals in our ICUs.

If we can handle a COVID wave without overwhelming our health-care system, awesome.

The fear this time around is that as contagious as the virus has become, should large numbers of hospital personnel either contract it or be exposed to it, that could impact the ability of the hospital to deliver the necessary level of health care to the population.

It is true that as the virus mutates, it seems to become more contagious while at the same time less virulent. We’re seeing fewer serious cases, but there are still people dying.

The virus isn’t selective; it seeks to infect everyone. And with younger people generally being the least vaccinated, it’s making its way through the age 20-29 group. They are the most likely to be out and about gathering in numbers, and in Chatham-Kent, only 30 per cent of the 18-29 group has received three shots against COVID-19.

We urge people to respect social distancing still, and at the very least follow provincial guidelines. If you can’t wear a mask for medical reasons, that’s understandable, but consider wearing one when you are at an indoor public gathering place where social distancing is not possible. If not for you, then for others.

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