Back during the darkest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we prayed for development of a vaccine.
Plenty of folks in these parts expressed the wish that a vaccine could be found, and fast.
Once vaccines were approved, shots became available in January. At first, the vaccine supply was limited, but it was not long before there was plenty. And it was free. One sometimes had to navigate some taxing logistical issues to get it, but nowadays it is much more readily accessible.
It seemed that an answer to the COVID crisis was here, and that before long it might be over.
But the vaccine has been shunned by many.
Who could have imagined that, six months later, less than a third of Mississippi and Tallahatchie County residents would have taken advantage of the opportunity to get vaccinated?
According to Tuesday figures from the Mississippi State Department of Health, 64% of Mississippi residents have not received a single shot of vaccine. In Tallahatchie County, that figure is 68%.
Only 32% of Mississippians, and 28% of Tallahatchians, are fully vaccinated against COVID.
With that many unvaccinated people running around, is it any surprise that when the much more contagious delta variant of coronavirus arrived, many folks became ill? The numbers are through the roof! On Tuesday, 1,291 new COVID cases were announced in the state, along with 15 deaths. One month ago to the date, less than one-fourth that number of new cases were reported.
Hospitalizations with confirmed COVID have jumped from 110 one month ago to 653 Tuesday.
Back then, 28 people were in intensive care units and 10 were on ventilators. On Tuesday, 199 were in ICU and 82 required mechanical help breathing.
Perhaps even more alarming is that the number of COVID outbreaks in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted care units, has climbed from 15 on June 27 to 81 on July 27.
If the trend continues, we could be headed back to much darker days. Mask mandates. Social distancing. Lockdowns. Earlier curfews. Who wants it? Not us. And not business owners who, despite federal assistance, are still barely holding on.
This matter transcends, or should transcend, politics. No matter your stripe, vaccination makes sense.
Among those who have received the vaccine are President Joe Biden and former Presidents Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George Bush and Bill Clinton.
Pope Francis, worldwide leader of the Roman Catholic Church, has been vaccinated.
We urge you, too, to get vaccinated. Do it for yourself, do it for your family, do it for your friends, and do it to prevent a return to the dark days of the pandemic for us all.