Light ahead, but long fight until victory over COVID-19
According to historians, by the time U.S. and Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in June 1944, World War II’s eventual outcome was all but inevitable.
By that point, American factories were producing tanks, planes, bullets and warships at an unprecedented pace and the full resources of the country were behind the war effort. Even then, every mile of territory gained was purchased with the blood and sweat of soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen, many of whom never made it home again.
On Monday, the pharmaceutical company Moderna announced a breakthrough in the race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19. Their tests show that their vaccine gave a better than a 94% protection from the virus with no major side effects seen. The announcement comes on the heels of recent news that a partnership of Pfizer and the German company BioNTech had developed a vaccine with 90% success in warding off the virus.
The plus of the Moderna vaccine is that it can be stored at a higher temperature and has a longer shelf-life at refrigerator or room temperature. These factors will help immensely in the monumental task of administering millions of vaccinations.
These vaccines, along with others being developed, are the weapons that will win the war against COVID-19. They will bring an end to this global pandemic that has seen the death of 1.3 million people worldwide and has devastated economies around the country and the globe. This week, stock markets rallied on the good news of the long-needed light at the end of the tunnel and people breathed a little easier knowing that the future held more than just a never-ending holding pattern.
While the vaccines provide a hint of the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, public health officials are quick to caution that there is still plenty of danger ahead. People must continue to take the virus seriously.
Taylor County is expected to surpass 1,000 cases this week. It has taken six months since the first confirmed case here to reach this point. At the current rate of spread, the county could easily see double or even triple that number of cases by Christmas. While the virus is a nuisance for many, for others, especially those with underlying medical conditions, it is life threatening.
As area residents look ahead to hunting season, Thanksgiving and the Christmas season, they must not let their defenses down when it comes to protecting themselves and their families from the virus.
The war against COVID-19 will be won. The privations and challenges of the past year will fade into memories. While there is certainty in an eventual victory, the war is still far from over and each of us must continue to do our part and follow the advice of public health offi cials and stay home when we are sick or have been exposed to the virus, avoid crowds, practice social distancing, wear masks and wash or sanitize our hands frequently.
There is hope for the future, but all of us must focus on the fight ahead to ensure we and our loved ones are there to