This weekend we celebrate Easter. It is the most joyous holiday on the Christian calendar. It is the day that marks the resurrection of the crucified Christ. Throughout Mingo County churches and community organizations will conduct a myriad of celebrations.

It seems fitting that many of the COVID restrictions are being reduced as Easter approaches. It was the first major holiday impacted by pandemic last year. The holiday was radically different than any of us had ever experienced. Gone were the big worship services, the egg hunts and the fellowship breakfasts or dinners. Gone was our entire sense of normalcy.

Fast forward a year later and things are beginning to change. The statistics around the virus are decreasing. The number of COVID-related deaths are dropping. Vaccines are now available and are being widely administered. People are beginning to breathe a sigh of relief. The number of people permitted for social gatherings have greatly increased. Events and celebrations are now being brought back to the public arena.

After a year of life-changing circumstances, people everywhere are ready to resume their lives.

However, resuming activities must be done with caution. The adage — “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” — aptly applies to our current situation.

We want do things in the same manner as we did in 2019. We are getting closer to that objective, but we still have a long way to go. While the statistics are beginning to decrease, it is still part of a vicious cycle of ebbs and flows. Over the last couple of weeks, Mingo County has experienced its lowest rates in many months. The county was green at one point last week. Yet, this week the county once again rose to the orange category on the community alert mapping system. As of the writing of this editorial, it had again dropped to gold.

There are various reasons for the fluctuation in the numbers ranging from the natural waxing and waning of the virus to downright carelessness. Mingo County Health Administrator Keith Blankenship summed it up well:

“Anytime we see a rise in our rates, the reason is pretty much what it has always been when we go from being pretty good to pretty bad, and that is a relaxation in social distancing, the wearing of masks in public places, proper hand washing, and continuing to be tested and vaccinated. I hope this is an anomaly and we’re going to be fine when summer and warmer weather arrive, but we definitely cannot afford to begin relaxing at this point because it’s just way too soon.”

We want people to begin enjoying social activities again, at the same time, we wholeheartedly agree with Blankenship. We have been making to great strides. Now is not the time to fall back. We must continue to move forward. The only way that will happen is my being proactive. The county is somewhere between 30 percent to 40 percent vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus but the number of people registering for the vaccine is at an all-time low. On Monday, only four people registered for a vaccine on the state system. People are becoming laxer every day in following the safety protocols.

Go worship with your church family this Easter, just keep an empty pew between you and other congregants. Hunt the beautifully colored Easter eggs, but make sure the kids keep some distance from each other. Social and attend events, fairs, festivals and reunions, just do so with a face covering. It is taking small steps such as these that will get us back to where we want to be faster.

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