More than 100 million Americans have now received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine—2 million in Oregon alone. Regardless of vaccination levels and a decrease of infection rates in some states, the picture is not all rosy. Multnomah, Clackamas and four other Oregon counties were shifted back to the High Risk category. On top of that, infection rates for COVID variations are increasing through six states.

Warmer weather and positive news about vaccination rates can make the public believe the worst of the pandemic is over. Yet, there were more than 30 more COVID-19 related deaths in Oregon on Tuesday this week.

Wishing COVID away will not make it so. The coronavirus that causes COVID is still as infectious and virulent as ever. The variants and mutations add a frighening element to the pandemic we all hoped was getting under control.

 We all want our favorite attractions to open. We all want to attend music and sporting events again. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updates restrictions weekly—we must remember that as research continues, new information begets new rules. 

Every person over 16 years of age will be able to get a vaccine later this month. The CDC reports that if a person is fully vaccinated there are many things they are to do, but it warns that precautions still need to be taken. Masks should not be discarded even if one has been vaccinated. Social distance is still the order of the day.. 

We think everyone should make an appointment to be vaccinated. COVID is still a matter of life and death. Everyone needs to protect themselves and others.

COVID-19 is not gone. The pandemic won't over until it's over and an "All Clear" has been issued.      —LAZ