The summer of 2021 felt sublimely normal. Festivals happened. Barbecues were held. Families hugged again.
The COVID-19 pandemic felt like a memory for many of us, but unfortunately this fall made it clear that virus has never left.
The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus has taken hold across the U.S. and new cases have ravaged Marion County.
Some county schools implemented mask mandates after new cases and quarantines forced them to close temporarily.
Officials at OhioHealth’s Marion General Hospital put out a plea to people to take actions as the number of available beds hit critically low levels.
Weekly cases in July were at 11, but in late September hit 799 with more than 20 percent of those occurring in people younger than 18.
We have essentially returned to peak infections in the county, not including the initial surge at our two prisons.
As it has since its beginning, the pandemic will grow or diminish based on our actions. We should take reasonable steps now to ensure it diminishes.
Health officials stress the best way out of the pandemic is through vaccinations. Approximately 45% of the county’s residents have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot, according to the Ohio Department of Health. We can do better.
While vaccinations aren’t completely foolproof, they have proved to be tremendously effective. An Associated Press analysis found that in May fully vaccinated people accounted for fewer than 1,200 of the more than 107,000 COVID-19 hospitalizations in the country. Of the 18,000 COVID-19 deaths in the United States, only about 150 were of fully vaccinated people. The CDC director has said we now face a “Pandemic of the unvaccinated.”
Increases in vaccinations will also lead to decreases in overall infections, proving a safer community for those who can’t get the shot, such as younger children. Local health officials are working hard to reduce barriers to vaccines by offering incentives for people to get the shot. Making it as easy as possible to get a vaccine is an important step, but it won’t convince everyone.
For those who are hesitant about getting the vaccine, we ask that you log off social media and talk to your health care provider about the risks and benefits of vaccinations.
If you choose not to get vaccinated, then we ask you take the necessary precautions to limit spread of the disease. This includes wearing a mask in public settings, social distancing and staying home when you’re not feeling well or if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19. Those who are vaccinated should also follow current health guidelines, including wearing a mask in indoor public settings and staying home when not feeling well.
We are all tired of the pandemic and its restrictions, but our being fed up doesn’t stop COVID from spreading.
We understand this is frustrating. That is why we are asking everyone to take the appropriate steps to stem the spread of COVID in Marion County. Together we can make ourselves safer, our children safer and our neighbors safer.
- Dave Claborn
- Benjamin Lanka
- Theresa Lubke
- Cory Rogers
- Julie Welch