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Community Members,

One of the greatest human attributes is our ability to learn and adapt to our situation. This is why we have not only survived as a species, but also thrived. We can change. We can grow. We have done it so well over the course of the centuries that we’ve been able to advance in every way.

But, we are not the only species that has the ability to learn and adapt. Viruses are also very good quick-change artists. In fact, they are truly the pros. While they are not as complex and complicated as humans, their relative simplicity means that they can make relatively large adjustments very, very quickly. That is why, while we have been dealing with COVID-19 for roughly a year and a half, we have been dealing with several substantially changed viruses. That is why we are experiencing another dramatic surge right now. The Delta variant is a form of COVID-19 that has changed to become more transmissible – able to take hold more readily. It adapted to its’ situation to keep itself alive.

Right now, in this ability to change and learn and fight for survival, COVID is beating us at our own game.  If we adapt, that means we do what we need to do to win our survival. We mask, we use increased hygiene measures, we vaccinate. We do whatever it takes to come out on top. Or do we?

Right now, there are more patients hospitalized in our state than at any previous point in this pandemic. Our healthcare system is once again in danger of being completely overwhelmed. The good news is that even though we have hospitalizations, not as many are dying right now. That is in large part because we have adapted and learned how to treat this disease. That’s our human nature at its’ best. But it still requires lots of time, energy, and human and physical resources to accomplish this. And it still taxes our healthcare workers and threatens our ability to respond to other healthcare needs. And we know that over 90% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated. We know we have an effective tool. And yet, the virus does what it needs to survive better than we do.

I know there is a lot to consider regarding vaccinations. There are many personal, religious, philosophical, political or health related reasons people don’t want vaccines or can’t get them. I know and love the people in my life who have not yet been vaccinated regardless of their reason, and I understand that it is a personal decision that everyone needs to make for themselves. Coercion simply does not work. We are independent thinkers. But I also know that if enough people were vaccinated, we would not be in the situation we are in right now. We would not be going back to mask mandates and required vaccinations. We would be far closer to normal than we are.

I wish we were as adept and nimble and willing to change as the virus is. That would be awesome and would ensure our survival. Maybe someday… But until then, stay safe, for your sake, and for the sake of all! We will get through this together.

Carl Florea, Mayor

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