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Vaccination: Get the shots and help end this pandemic

As the monster that is COVID-19 continues to evolve, West Virginia is — unfortunately — catching up with the rest of the country. According to state coronavirus czar Dr. Clay Marsh, the omicron variant of the virus replaced the delta variant in the U.S. within three weeks. And here in West Virginia omicron accounts for 82% of new cases.

Though some folks have calmed themselves by grasping at reports that omicron may be less likely to cause severe complications than previous variants, it is also more contagious.

James Hoyer, leader of the state’s joint interagency task force, recalled a comparison made by former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams: If an enemy force is using a weapon that’s only one-third as effective, but has four times as many soldiers firing it, it’s 1.3 times more likely to kill someone.

“Cases are going to continue to expand under omicron because of its level of contagiousness,” Hoyer said.

Meanwhile, Gov. Jim Justice, returning to in-person briefings, talked about his own bout with the virus.

“If I can end up with it, you can end up with it, I promise you that,” Justice said. That means, as the governor pointed out, it is as important as ever to be vaccinated and boosted — to give yourself the best chance of weathering the storm.

“There’s no doubt that God has given us the abilities to have medicines to try and save our lives,” he said. “If I hadn’t had those vaccines, I think I would have been in really tough shape.”

As it is, Justice appears to have had a rough few days.

Far from being over, the fight is, in fact, changing. We are in the thick of it, still. And just as was the case a year ago, we have the tools that can help us get to the other side. Surely those who have actively resisted being part of the fight are as tired of this plague as the rest of us. What more will it take for them to join in?

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