Our View: Don’t wait to find out with new variant | VailDaily.com

Our View: Don’t wait to find out with new variant

Get vaccinated. Get your children vaccinated. Get your booster. Wear a mask indoors. Keep a safe distance. Exercise. Eat right. Take some time each day to assess your mental health. And make sure to get outside and get some sunlight.

You may feel helpless as the omicron variant explodes across Eagle County, pushing local daily case counts higher than they’ve ever been. But the fact is, you’ve never been powerless in this fight. You know the tools you have to keep yourself and your family protected. And you’re fully capable of using every tool in that kit to live with this virus.

Heck, we’ve been living with it for nearly two years — and doing better than most. We’ve excelled, as a community, when it comes to blunting surges, flattening curves, reopening early and getting kids back into classrooms and keeping them there while other communities around the country have had much bumpier trajectories.

So, yes, the data isn’t good. This new variant of COVID-19 spreads faster than anything we’ve seen so far. Our lodges, restaurants, shops and ski resorts are full for the holidays and this surge couldn’t come at a worse time. These next three to four weeks will test our health care systems, businesses and our resolve as a community.

But let’s be clear: This variant is still a version of the same virus we’ve knocked down before. We can knock it down again.

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It’s time to stop viewing COVID-19 as something we’re close to coming around the bend on, with a finish line in view. We need to put an end to the talk about the end of COVID.

The virus is looking more and more like it’s endemic. Even when we reopened last spring and had a reprieve from the pandemic last summer, gathering again, traveling, taking in live music, and living our lives without limitations, the virus was still out there, circulating.

And now this new variant has accelerated everything again, faster than ever before. But we’ve also got more tools to fight it than we ever had when COVID-19 arrived here at the start of 2020 and Eagle County quickly emerged as one of the hottest spots in the country.

At the top of that list are safe, effective vaccines that are readily available. If you’re still hesitant about getting vaccinated, or getting your children vaccinated, rigorous scientific testing, reams of data and millions of people getting inoculated all lead to the same conclusion: Vaccines are your best weapon in this fight.

If you’re vaccinated, you are far less likely to become severely ill or die from COVID-19 compared to unvaccinated people. That’s irrefutable. And it’s the unvaccinated that are weighing down our health care system right now, pushing our hospitals to the brink around the state.

Early reports indicate that omicron cases may be less severe than the delta variant, but you don’t want to wait to find out. Omicron is more contagious than anything we’ve seen so far, and it’s circulating rapidly in this valley.

Panicking isn’t going to solve anything. You have so much you can control, and that starts with making smart decisions about gathering, about being healthy, and about looking out for one another.

Another surge is the last thing anyone wants at Christmas, but we’ve already faced this challenge before. More than ever, it’s time for us to rally again as a community, to take care of each other, and to be safe to not overwhelm our overworked front-line health care workers.

We can do this, but it’s going to take all of us pulling together. Let’s get to work.

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