UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) – The Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft District Health Department (LMAS) recently issued the following message urging the public to continue to use caution and prevent the spread of COVID-19:
How many people would still be with us if SARS-CoV-2 hadn’t swept around the world in 2020? How many more would have been taken from us if collectively and individually we had done nothing? Those numbers can never be fully known. And, unlike most of our press releases, today we are not talking about numbers.
We have learned a lot about this novel (new) coronavirus over the last year. We know that face coverings, social distancing, and handwashing help to slow the spread, but only when the majority of people consistently follow the protocols. Initially, we thought that surfaces would be a significant spread of the virus, but now we know that is not the case. When dealing with a new infectious virus, it is prudent to err on the side of caution to protect the health of all and then adjust as we learn more. Science has found some answers, including the development of safe and effective vaccines which have been given to millions of people around the world.
The virus too, has changed. Viruses constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Sometimes new variants emerge and disappear. Other times, new variants emerge and persist. Multiple variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 have been documented in the United States and globally during this pandemic. We know the variants have become more infectious. We know in this third wave in Michigan that the vaccines received by the older population are making it far less likely for them to become ill with COVID. We also know that those hospitalized now are younger, some are very ill, but deaths are not rising as in previous waves. We also now have a treatment in monoclonal antibodies that is working well in keeping some symptomatic patients from getting seriously ill.
Most of us long to travel again and see friends, family, and places that refresh our minds and our bodies. We cannot get there without you. We can see a bit of hope down the road, but we can only get there if we do the small things we asked you all to do one year ago. There are at least two different variants making the rounds in the Upper Peninsula, and even more in lower Michigan. Besides wearing a mask properly (covering your nose and mouth), wash your hands, don’t gather in large crowds, and please get the COVID vaccine. These are the tools we have. We need you to use these tools.
This is a fight that has gone into extra rounds. We all have a position on the team. The playbook is pretty basic: take care of each other, choose to be responsible, for yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your community. Take a break from a news cycle that repeats every10 minutes. Use kind words instead of hateful ones. We know you’re sick of all of this, so are we. The fastest way through this is together. If you have questions about the vaccines or would like to schedule an appointment, please visit LMASDHD.org or message us on our Facebook page. We are here to help.
The message comes after a nationwide spike in Coronavirus cases, with Michigan leading that spike in numbers and hospitalizations.
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