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Pandemic precautions still needed to stem surge in Michigan

The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for over a year now, and Michigan — and the rest of the world — has gone through many phases, from getting personal protective equipment, wearing masks and social distancing to testing and now vaccinations.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer took a tough stance on the pandemic, issuing orders with which many disagreed. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued many epidemic orders with which many also disagreed.

Many people want restaurants opened to full capacity, for instance, while others still attend large gatherings or don’t wear facial masks when they should.

Hey, we understand. Most of us probably want to get back to our pre-pandemic “normal lives” as soon as possible. We want to go to a move and go out to eat.

Actually, we can participate in these activities now; it’s just that there are limitations. The limitations, though, still wear on people.

With the advent of the Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, there was hope we could get closer to herd immunity.

Although many people have been vaccinated, or at least have received their first dose, it doesn’t appear the situation has advanced as much as it should.

Not too long ago, Michigan’s case numbers were going down. However, CNN reported on Sunday that the state added over 8,400 new cases on a single day — the most since December.

CNN also reported that in the first three weeks of March, hospitalizations due to COVID-19 rose 633% for unvaccinated people between the ages of 30 and 39 and 800% for those aged 40 to 49, citing the Michigan Health and Hospital Association.

What’s driving the surge? Several possibilities are pandemic fatigue, people attending youth sporting events and the rise in coronavirus variants, which spread more easily and are potentially deadlier.

Even though people are getting vaccinated, they can’t let their guard down.

The virus, in whatever form, is still out there. People need to realize the pandemic still is going on. That means wearing masks, avoiding large social gatherings, washing hands frequently and using hand sanitizer, staying home when they’re ill and getting vaccinated.

The sooner we lick this, the sooner we can return to a “normal” life.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette

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