The announcements in the past week that two vaccines have been shown to be remarkably effective in providing immunization against the coronavirus have given our nation hope that the pandemic might be brought under control.
Finally, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
However, with 250,000 Americans already dead from the virus and the holiday season approaching, this is no time for any of us to let our guard down. The virus does not take a holiday and is spreading like wildfire across the country, leading even Republican governors to issue mask mandates and resulting in additional shutdowns of businesses that already were on the edge of permanent closure.
It is estimated that if we do not wear masks and maintain physical separation, at least 250,000 more Americans will be dead in the coming months.
Hospitals and healthcare workers already are stretched to the limit in many states. If the pandemic is allowed to spread further, there will be a total breakdown in the American healthcare system, endangering the lives not only of healthcare employees and coronavirus patients, but anybody else who needs hospitalization from accidents, heart attacks, strokes, and cancer.
In addition, we would note that even for those who recover from the coronavirus, there can be lasting damage to the heart, lungs, and other organs.
We urge all of our readers to listen to the warnings and directives of our public health officials and to consider how we can spend the holiday season with our loved ones in a safe setting, if at all.
A small wedding in Maine in August was linked to 178 COVID cases and eight deaths — and none of those who died attended the wedding.
Our government leaders can urge us to protect ourselves and others, but COVID-19 safety this holiday season ultimately comes down to each and every American assuming personal responsibility to observe and obey the rules.