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Same song, different verse:

If viruses were sentient, it would be obvious that COVID-19 is reasserting itself. On the international stage, the Tokyo Olympics have begun despite opposition within the Japanese medical establishment. The concern is that such a large international gathering can spread variant strains within Japan and worldwide.

In Washington, D.C., six of the 50 Texas legislators who left that state to prevent passage of legislation they oppose have tested positive for the coronavirus, and they have spread the virus to people at the Capitol and in the White House.

And here in West Virginia, COVID czar Clay Marsh predicted Tuesday that we could see more cases, hospitalizations and deaths as the delta variant spreads. “Could” always means “maybe not,” but given national and international trends, it’s possible.

At the governor’s COVID briefing Tuesday, Marsh said the most effective way to prevent serious illness and death against all strains of the virus is still to take any of the three vaccines approved for use.

“Most of the deaths and most of the hospitalizations — 97.5% of hospitalizations and 99% of the deaths — are in people not fully vaccinated for the hospitalizations, and unvaccinated for the deaths,” Marsh said. “So we see what an important role these vaccines are (playing).”

Marsh gave the same advice as given by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Be vaccinated.

A year ago, before we had a vaccine, the emphasis was on testing for the presence of the coronavirus. With the rollout of the three vaccines early this year, testing has faded from public view, although the spread of the delta variant could bring testing back to the forefront. Thus, we might not know many people carry the delta variant.

As noted above, the best defense at this time appears to be vaccination. It’s a shame vaccination has become a political issue. But that’s modern American politics. You never let a crisis go to waste when you can use it to accumulate power, fame or fortune.

Life is a series of risks. At present, being vaccinated appears to carry less risk than not being vaccinated. The fact public officials made mistakes last year and took too much power on themselves does not negate that simple fact.

Life is returning to normal after last year’s shutdowns, but there are simple steps we can all still take to prevent spreading the disease and prevent coming down with it ourselves. By now we all know what they are. There’s no need to panic, but there’s still a danger in becoming complacent. We need to ask ourselves if we’ve forgotten that it won’t take much for an uptick in COVID infections to become a surge.

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