We realize that after two and one-half years of dealing with COVID-19, all of us just want to be done with COVID.
But the unfortunate reality is that COVID-19 is not done with us, despite what President Biden suggested in his interview on Sunday with 60 Minutes.
The number of Americans who still are contracting — and dying from — COVID each and every day continues to be staggering: The daily average of new COVID cases in the U.S. is more than 60,000 and the daily average for new deaths is almost 500. More Americans are dying from COVID every week than died on 9/11.
The toll that so-called long-COVID is wreaking on our population also is enormous. By some estimates, 20 percent of those who contract COVID, even if they have mild cases, will suffer from the effects of long-COVID, including many that are physically and mentally debilitating over the long term.
However, the availability of the new COVID-19 vaccine marks a huge step forward in our ability to reduce the ravages of the COVID pandemic. The new vaccine, which became available two weeks ago for all adults, is the only type of vaccine that can protect against the most dominant Omicron strains of COVID-19 in the US. The new booster is bivalent, which means it provides better protection against both the original strain of COVID-19 and the Omicron variants that are currently causing most infections (BA.4 and BA.5).
In addition, preliminary research suggests that the new vaccine offers significant protection not only against serious illness and death, but also against contracting long-COVID.
Health professionals are recommending that even if you have had COVID, you should get the new vaccine as soon as a month after your illness, and for those who have received all of the previous boosters, you should get the new vaccine two months after your last shot.
Those with compromised immune systems should consult with their doctor about getting the new vaccine.
We urge all of our readers not to walk, but to run, to a health care provider to get the new vaccine ASAP.