From the Editor: COVID fatigue and a probably never-ending pandemic

Larry Johnson, the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier seated in an office chair in front of a small table with a laptop in article about Cobb County Courier Meet the EditorLarry Johnson, the editor and publisher of the Cobb County Courier

I had a first cousin die of COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic (one of the earliest deaths from the disease in Cobb County) and recently the husband of another first cousin died of the disease.

So from the very beginning I wasn’t susceptible to the nonsense that the disease was “no worse than the flu.”

I’m a big proponent of vaccination, and if I could mandate it across the board, I’d do it at the drop of a hat.

Vaccination is the best chance we have to reach true herd immunity. Polio didn’t become so rare in the U.S. because the population developed natural immunity. It became rare because of the vaccine.

I’m also a proponent of masks. No matter what you read on social media, the preponderance of evidence is that masks slow the spread of the virus.

And folks, don’t go to Youtube videos for health info. Go to the Mayo Clinic site, or Johns Hopkins, or the CDC.

At the moment, things are looking as good as they have since early summer.

But the complacency I’m seeing because of those improving numbers is alarming. Cobb is still in high community transmission, and while the Delta surge is ending, the virus is still moving through the population and mutating as it does.

This opinion piece doesn’t have much of a point except to express a little demoralization that the attitude among the population seems to be that it’s over. Which means we’ll probably have new surges until the vaccination rate reaches over 90 percent.

And we won’t reach that threshold while at least 30 percent of the population has made a political issue out of what continues to be a public health crisis.

Yesterday I wrote a short piece that I didn’t widely publicize, pointing out that there was an uptick in COVID cases among Cobb school-aged residents.

This came from the Georgia Department of Public Health’s weekly School Aged COVID-19 Surveillance Report.

I reported on it because it was true. On the one social media site where I did post it, I got a predictable reader who said I was “chomping at the bit” to report bad news.

First, that is never true. I’d rather the pandemic be over.

And since that obviously isn’t true, I’d rather that we have public officials from the top levels of state government down to the school board who treat a high transmission pandemic as it should be treated: as a national health care crisis.

But I can’t always get what I want, so I have to settle for reporting what I know, when I know it, and as an editor in another state often says, “write more later.”

While this pandemic continues, we’ll report on it. When the news is good, we’ll report it. When the news is bad, we’ll report that.

And if we get something wrong, we’ll run a correction, immediately and prominently.

That’s really about all I have to say. The pandemic isn’t over, and I don’t intend to celebrate until it is.

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