This editorial appeared in the Press-Republican on July 14:
PLATTSBURGH — With the upcoming closure of the New York state vaccine site on Connecticut Road near the Plattsburgh International Airport [on] Monday, it would be easy to think we are just about out of the woods when it comes to COVID-19.
We hope everyone thinks again.
While we have made great progress in stemming the spread of COVID-19 since vaccines arrived last December, there is still more work to be done.
New cases of COVID-19 have gone down drastically since the pandemic began in March 2020. Vaccines seem to be working, and enough people have taken them to make a difference.
The positivity rate for the north country was just 0.56% as of this past Sunday, a very low rate.
We have dramatically flattened the curve. And as a result, much of life has returned to what we knew as normal before the pandemic.
Masks are no longer required in most public places for those who are vaccinated, and social distancing is becoming less and less of a practice.
We would hope that people would continue washing hands often, pandemic or no pandemic, because good hygiene is needed at all times, not just during a public health emergency.
With the success we’ve had in curbing the spread of [the novel coronavirus] in the north country, it makes sense to close the state vaccine site.
But as much progress as we’ve made, there is still danger.
In recent days and weeks, health experts have increasingly discussed the dangerous variants of [the coronavirus], namely the Delta variant, and how they could potentially put us back to worrisome levels of positive cases.
And now the Lambda variant, which originated in Peru, is also causing concern.
Experts agree that if you are vaccinated, the vaccines will help prevent extreme sickness, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID, which is naturally what we worry about the most.
But those who are not vaccinated can be in great danger since the variants are more transmissible.
Of the recent deaths due to COVID-19 in this country, more than 95 percent were people who were not vaccinated.
We would encourage all those who are not vaccinated to please get the shots before it is too late. Even with the mass vaccination site in Plattsburgh closing, there are still plenty of opportunities available for people to get shots.
The Press-Republican publishes a vaccine site master list in each day’s paper providing information about vaccines and how to get them through local health departments, pharmacies and providers.
Please take advantage of that.
There are those who do not want to get the vaccine out of fear that it is untested and could lead to extreme reactions or cause long-term problems.
The data so far [show] that is not the case, and [they] also [show] that those who are not vaccinated stand a much, much greater chance of dying if they get COVID-19.
Remember, more than 600,000 people in this country, and more than 50,000 in New York state, have died because of COVID-19.
Let’s not add to those numbers.
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