It is too early to relax personal and public precautions against the pandemic.
Earlier this week, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky warned that she feels “impending doom” because of steady rise of COVID-19 cases in the U.S.
Masks, social distancing and smart choices about gatherings are still important, Walesnky said.
Oklahoma’s COVID-19 metrics are improving, but it’s too early to talk about removing masking ordinances. Any moves toward a more open society need to be taken cautiously.
Nationally, the average number of new cases has increased by 10% to slightly less than 60,000 cases a day over the past week, Walensky said. Hospitalizations and deaths are also rising.
One of the obvious lessons of the pandemic has been that an outbreak anywhere is reason for concern everywhere: Viruses aren’t stopped by city limits or state lines.
The state remains far from the vaccination rate necessary for herd immunity.
In Tulsa County, a little more than 30% of the population is fully vaccinated. A little over half of the population over age 65 has been vaccinated. That’s a critical demographic because of the higher risk of complications, hospitalization and death.
Sewage surveillance has identified the more highly contagious and deadlier B.1.1.7 variant in Oklahoma County, and local health officials says it would be shocking if it weren’t also in the Tulsa County population.
Two vaccinations don’t make you bullet-proof, and it doesn’t mean you can’t spread the virus to others.
Personal responsibility and public health ordinances are still important.
Think carefully about going out in public places. If you do go out, wear a mask and maintain a safe distance. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Get vaccinated. The price of ending the battle against the pandemic is continued vigilance. Be smart and careful.