Editorials, Opinion

We’ve let COVID kill more Americans than the 1918 flu pandemic

The United States has reached a devastating milestone: We’ve lost more Americans to COVID-19 than we lost to the influenza pandemic of 1918.

As of this writing, over 694,000 people in the U.S. have died from COVID; the 1918 flu took around 675,000 American lives.

It’s hard not to be bitter, especially as we compare the past to the present. One hundred years later, with all the advancement in science and technology, and we’ve handled the current health crisis worse now than back then.

We suppose, though, that back then, diseases were not used as political pawns, and there was no internet to spread misinformation across the globe in a matter of seconds.

 About 18% of West Virginia’s COVID hospitalizations are vaccinated individuals, but more than 80% of hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated.

We must also consider that many West Virginians have underlying conditions that can interact poorly (to say the least) with COVID-19. That’s why it’s important for those who are vaccinated to get a booster shot when it becomes available to them.

Vaccine boosters are a normal part of life. Some vaccines just need boosters sooner than others. Right now, Pfizer recipients who are six months from their second shot and are 18 and over with underlying medical conditions and/or have an increased risk of exposure should look into getting a follow-up shot.

For those who remain unvaccinated, please consider getting the vaccine — talk to your doctor if you aren’t sure if the vaccine is safe for you. In the meantime, please wear a face covering in public to help protect yourself and others.