This week marks one year since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in Floyd County. So far, 43% of Floyd County — 41,766 people — have been fully vaccinated, according to the Department of Public Health.

In the past week we’ve heard that the coronavirus pandemic has taken more than 800,000 American lives and, unfortunately, many of us are just numb.

Once the number of deaths gets that high, it becomes too much for the mind to handle but it’s truly important to not lose sight of the real and terrible cost we’ve paid.

The deaths in Floyd County and Northwest Georgia only make up a minuscule percentage of that massive number. But we’re all, each of us, individuals and a number cannot quantify the impact a single person can have.

So many people have been lost — over 400 in our community — who might still be here if not for this pandemic.

It’s important that we don’t get so callused that we forget the real, terrible and human cost of COVID-19.

Thankfully, as we enter Christmas week the COVID-19 numbers are down, but as we should know by now, that could change in a matter of weeks. People are planning to travel, visit loved ones and spend the holidays as we’re accustomed to — with family and friends.

Of course, there’s a new quick spreading COVID-19 variant on the horizon. Omicron appears to be far more transmissible than the delta variant, which remains the dominant strain of COVID-19 here.

The good thing is that preliminary research is showing omicron seems to have milder symptoms. That doesn’t discount delta or the potential of overwhelmed hospital systems, but only time will tell.

In the past we’ve seen lulls turn into spikes. The lull ending in September 2020 turned into a spike which crested in January 2021. The lull ending at the beginning of July 2021 spiked in September 2021.

There’s no question that those spikes eventually dwindle, as all viruses do, but there’s a toll each time, and we as Americans should do something about it and it’s a simple thing. Get vaccinated.

Those who remain unvaccinated or who have not received a booster are at great risk of severe illness if infected.

As our COVID-19 numbers increase, as they are likely to do, in the coming weeks we should take thoughtful measures to stop this tiresome mess in its tracks and, eventually, move on.

We’re all exhausted. We’re all ready to move on. We all want life to return to what it was in 2019 prior to the pandemic, and there’s an easy way to do it.

Your freedoms aren’t curtailed by taking measures to protect other people. A mask meant to stop the spread of a virus is not a yoke, no matter how annoying they can be. A vaccine isn’t an invasion of your rights, no matter how loud some folks shout it.

While thousands of lives have been saved by COVID-19 vaccinations, partisan drum beating, confusing messages from government and health officials, and a massive amount of misinformation spread on social media channels have created a hesitancy in many well-meaning Americans.

We do these things for ourselves and our families, but also for our communities. We take these measures for the aged, those with fragile health and — when it comes down to it — for the healthcare community that makes up so much of our community.

Please get vaccinated, get a booster and thank you for reading.


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