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COVID-19: Reopening too soon jeopardizes progress

It’s President Joe Biden’s job to be optimistic about this sort of thing, but his assertion that “we’re now on track to have enough vaccine supply for every adult in America by the end of May” tells only part of the story. Supply is one thing, delivery is another.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about 8 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated. Contrast that with Dr. Anthony Fauci’s statement that the U.S. must achieve a vaccination rate of approximately 80 percent before we can feel comfortable there is “herd immunity” from this virus, and the light at the end of the tunnel begins to look a little further away.

In fact, Biden was smart to later rein in his optimism by admitting he had been cautioned not to give a definitive answer about when American might be able to return to life as we knew it pre-pandemic. He was able to guess only that we might return to “normal” sometime before “this time next year.”

Events in states such as Texas make such caution necessary, as Gov. Greg Abbot seems to be jumping the gun in lifting his state’s mask-wearing mandate and many other restrictions. Now is a terrible time to jeopardize the progress we are making by putting a population the size of Texas at risk, particularly given the number of people to whom the vaccine is available who are buying in to absurd excuses not to get the shot. Those continuing to spread the conspiracy theories and lies that are instilling fear in the very people who most need the vaccine should be ashamed of themselves.

Optimism is important, but it must not be dashed by those who have decided there is room to be reckless just as we are making progress.

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