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Don’t let your guard down against COVID

Perhaps President Joe Biden could have chosen his words a little better on “60 Minutes” when he declared “The pandemic is over.”

But, then again, one can understand the political expediency in making such a statement as voters prepare to head to the polls.

Biden was a little closer to the mark when he said “We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lot of work on it … I think it’s changing.”

It is changing; that’s true.

But West Virginia officials were right to shake their heads at any statement from Washington, D.C., that might prevent residents from getting fully vaccinated or getting their boosters — particularly as new and still-deadly variants keep coming.

“If we just bundle everything up and say the pandemic is over … more people will die,” Gov. Jim Justice said.

“I know we’re saving lives being here. If we just save one, that’s enough, but I know we’re saving lots more than just the one.”

Though Justice does have a tendency toward the dramatic, he’s right on this one.

Leading people to believe the worry is over will mean unnecessary deaths.

It’s tempting to hear Biden’s words, breathe a sigh of relief and say “Phew! Glad that’s over.”

But don’t give in to the temptation to skip the vaccine or booster, abandon testing and stay home if you feel ill, or give up on precautionary measures we know will stem the spread of not just this virus but many others.

Our local doctors, pharmacies and heath departments continue to report plenty of new cases among the populations of West Virginia and Ohio.

Fortunately, vaccines, booster shots and improved treatments mean that fewer people are becoming severely ill and needing to be hospitalized — and, most importantly, fewer people are dying from COVID-19 or complications from being infected by the coronavirus.

But, we have not reached the end of this battle just yet.

There is, indeed, still a lot of work to do.

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