EDITORIAL: Remain virus vigilant and plan to get vaccinated
Welcome to 2021. While we may breath a sigh of relief and bid 2020 a fond farewell, this is no time to take the threat of COVID-19 pandemic any less serious. In fact, we need to remain even more vigilentagainst the virus.
This is the harsh reality that arrived with the new year:
• South Carolina just recently surpassed 300,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
• More than 5,000 deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus.
• The predicited post-holiday spike has begun.The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control is reporting that a high percentage of tests for the virus have returned positive results, indicating widespread community transmission.
• The Pee Dee Region has proven itself to be one of the state’s hot spots.
Officials with DHEC are pleading with South Carolinians to remain vigilant against the virus. During a recent news conference, the agency’s interim public health director, Dr. Brannon Traxler, emphasized the importance of wearing masks to slow down the virus, even as vaccines have begun to make their way into the state.
“I want everyone to remember that, while we are vaccinating, which everyone nationwide agrees is going to take some months to complete the entire population, I really encourage people to keep doing the things that we know work, that are very simple, like wearing masks,” Traxler said.
The DHEC plea comes as The Associated Press is reporting questions by S.C. lawmakers about the pace of the state’s vaccine rollout.Other states are dealing with similar problems.
As of Jan. 8, 41,508 doses of the vaccine had been administered, according to Traxler. Those doses are going to front-line health care workers and people living and working in long-term care facilities in the state’s initial phase of a three-phase process.
There must be priorities for the most vulnerable but it’s not hard to see why so many are impatient for the vaccination process to move rapidly. No one wants to contract COVID-19 now with the life-saving vaccinations potentially so near.
The central goal of saving the most lives must remain, though Traxler is assuring South Carolinians “that everyone who wishes to be administered a vaccine will be vaccinated.”
Until your turn comes, please follow the advice on wearing masks and practicing social distancing. You just might by saving your own life as well as protecting others.
We also urge you to please get vaccinated. We understand the apprehension, but the benefits far outweight the risks. It is a our best chance to beat the pandemic.