A lot of fuss was being made this week about the fact that President Joe Biden said, as a small part of a lengthy interview, that "the pandemic is over." Whether making such a statement was appropriate or not, we urge people to pay more attention to what he said immediately afterward, which was "we still have a problem with covid" and "we're still doing a lot of work on it."
With social distancing and mask-wearing becoming less common, we certainly understand that people would like to put the pandemic in the rear view mirror, but it would be a mistake to move on completely and lose sight of the ever-present risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 and its variant forms.
The Cayuga County Health Department on Wednesday reported that for the week of Sept. 15-21, a dozen area residents were hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19, and one, a woman in her 90s, died of complications brought on by the virus, bringing the total reported Cayuga County deaths since April 2020 to 153.
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Work does indeed remain to be done, and the health department is continuing to play a major role locally in public education and vaccine distribution. The department warned this week that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that the highly contagious omicron variants of COVID-19 will be the primary strains infecting people this fall and winter when people begin spending more time in close indoor spaces.
Whether people have had one shot, a two shot-series or a booster, no one should ignore a newly available vaccine that protects against the original COVID-19 as well as its variants.
A walk-in clinic is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Fingerlakes Mall Event Center, and people may also contact their local pharmacy or primary care provider to make an appointment.
As much as we would all like it to, the virus isn't going to simply go away, so it's up to all of us to continue to help stop the spread and reduce hospitalizations and deaths as much as we possibly can.
The Citizen Editorial board includes president and director of local sales and marketing Michelle Bowers, executive editor Jeremy Boyer and managing editor Mike Dowd.