Covid-19 cases are once again rising in every state. The delta variant of the deadly respiratory disease is fueling the spread, and nearly all coronavirus deaths now are among the tens of millions of people who haven’t received shots, despite widespread availability.

U.S. cases of Covid-19 last week increased by 17,000 nationwide over a 14-day period for the first time since late fall, and an increase in death historically follows a spike in illness, the Associated Press reported Sunday. That same day, The Texas Tribune reported that Texas’s positivity rate is over 10% — a level Gov. Greg Abbott and the Trump administration identified as a red flag earlier in the pandemic. The Tribune also reported the seven-day average as of Saturday for new confirmed cases in the state was 2,119. That’s nearly triple the average on the first day of the month, when it was 757. Meanwhile, the number of people hospitalized for the coronavirus in the state climbed from 1,591 on July 1 to 2,834 on Friday.

About 186 million Americans have received at least one shot, but another 90 million eligible Americans haven’t, according to the AP. The numbers prompted U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy on Sunday to urge unvaccinated Americans to seek their shot.

Powderly Dairy Queen owner Gary Nash hit the nail on the head in an interview with WFAA a few days ago. “We all know that if the new virus, delta strain, comes into our businesses, it could close us down for two weeks, three weeks, a month. We just have no idea,” he said.

Getting vaccinated or returning to some pandemic safety measures, such as mask wearing in crowded areas or cleaning your hands before touching your face increases the chances that our local businesses can continue serving us uninterrupted. It also increases your chances of not being hospitalized with a disease that’s known to have long-term effects, including brain fog, fatigue and blood clotting issues.

Our local health care leaders, including Paris Regional Medical Center and the Paris-Lamar County Health District, continue to urge local residents to seek a vaccination. Please do so. They are free and readily available, even from local retailers like Walmart.

Vaccination is the primary way to bring this pandemic to an actual end. As long as Covid-19 can infect susceptible people, it will continue to mutate and to become more dangerous. We’ve already seen in 2020 just how badly the coronavirus can affect our lives and our livelihoods. Let’s not give it the chance to do it again.

Klark Byrd

The Paris News Editorial Board publishes editorials on topics of local relevance on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

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