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OUR VIEW: The pandemic isn’t over yet

For the most part, we’ve all returned to our daily lives. At times, we might have to wear a mask, but for the vast majority of us, life has sort of moved on with the realization that COVID-19 remains out there. Some of us are back taking vacations — mask in hand — and trips to the grocery store now require social distancing and hand sanitizer.

But, for the most part, life has continued, stuck in this seemingly endless blur between what was normal and what’s now normal.

It’s hard to fight that temptation to let your guard down.

However, we’re here to argue why it’s imperative not to, especially with the current state of the world.

For the entire last week, the United States has been over 100,000 new cases of COVID-19 per day. According to Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, the U.S. mortality rate is around 2.4 percent, which is lower than most countries.

Let’s simplify the math for a minute. Say that this current trend continues, and as a country we continue to have 100,000 cases per day for a drawn-out period. (Some analysis says it’ll be much higher than that.) If 2 percent of those people die, that’s 2,000 people per day until this spike ends. It’s easy to see how quickly that could balloon into tens of thousands or more.

And although we’re looking at numbers, each one of those deaths is someone’s family member — a father, mother, sister, brother, son, daughter — a real person with a real life.

We realize COVID-19 has gotten political, and that many joked (we think) that it would magically disappear as soon as the election ended. Well, the election is over (again, we think), and COVID-19 is back dominating the news.

Pfizer announced on Monday that a vaccine they tested was 90 percent effective, which is great news, but even if the vaccine was approved for dispersion tomorrow, it’s going to take quite a while for it to become mass produced and available for all.

Numbers are going up everywhere, and they are likely to continue climbing as cold weather sets in.

Locally, Troup County has had 90 cases over the last two weeks, which seems somewhat under control, but that can change quickly.

Nobody wants to get back where we were in July, when we were bringing in dozens of new cases per day and the death toll continued to rise.   

For the football fans out there, you don’t have to look further than the state of the SEC to see the current rise in cases. Both Alabama (vs. LSU) and Auburn (vs. Mississippi State) won’t play this weekend because of a rise in COVID-19 cases that impacted their matchups. Tennessee-Texas A&M also won’t take place, and Arkansas Head Coach Sam Pittman won’t be on the sideline against Florida after testing positive.

COVID-19 is threatening the SEC season in a way it hasn’t so far, and realistically it’s hard to imagine that won’t continue into November and December.

Whether you voted for Donald Trump, Joe Biden or someone else, COVID-19 impacts us all. That means Republicans, Democrats and independents.

It’s not time to let our guard down. If you go out with friends, wear a mask. If you go on vacation and are in a tightly packed public space, wear a mask.

Again, we’re back at a point where we’re trying to stop our hospitals from being overwhelmed with an influx of cases.

Do your part, wear a mask and use hand sanitizer or wash hands frequently. Hopefully, projections will be wrong and COVID-19 will again die down, but that seems unlikely. Do your part to stop the spread.