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Our opinion: Healthcare workers need you to follow the science

For nearly this entire year and those months to come, we have been and will be hampered at every turn by COVID-19.

It has damaged our society in ways we’re still having a hard time believing and could have lasting effects for years to come.

We’ve heard over and over again how masks can make the difference, how social distancing can help turn the corner and how washing our hands can help put us ahead in the fight.

And yet here we are.

Last Friday we went into the weekend with 1,720 cumulative cases. Over the weekend we gained another 317 cases. After so much time of single digit cases in our county, Mower County gained over 300 cases in two days.

Some of this can be attributed to how cases are being reported and a backlog, but the numbers are still very glaring: COVID-19 is continuing unchecked.

This mirrors the skyrocketing rise in cases of COVID-19 in the state, the nation and the world. In Minnesota we are breaking records most every day in new case numbers recorded.

Science has predicted this wave if we don’t do those little things like suffering the wearing of masks when out in public. And here the wave is, being swept into the flu season that threatens to make this pandemic far worse.

We can take solace in the recent reporting by Pfizer and Moderna Inc. that have both reported vaccines with over 90 percent success rates. Moderna, the most recent to report this progress, has a vaccine that appears to be 94.5 percent effective. This is according to preliminary data from an ongoing study the Associated Press reported.

Both companies are requesting emergency approval which would fasttrack the vaccines into the market.

The report went on to say: “Both vaccines require two shots, given several weeks apart. U.S. officials said they hope to have about 20 million Moderna doses and another 20 million of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech to use in late December.”

This is good news, but not enough to stop the current rise in cases that are ravaging through the United States, bearing the banner headline: “This is not fake!”

With cases mounting and mounting, our thoughts turn to the healthcare workers who have been on the front lines of this from day one and who are now paying a heavy price for this battle.

The fears were that if healthcare professionals are impacted with this illness, then hospitals will begin paying the price.

Right now, hospitals throughout the country are being overwhelmed. This is a fact and Minnesota is no different.

Towards the end of last week, around 2,000 staff members at Mayo Clinic and its satellite clinics were out related to COVID-19. Either they were sick themselves or at home with someone who is.

Who takes care of the patients when the plot features more and more healthcare workers becoming the patients?

Meanwhile, hospitals and the state are fighting to accommodate the surge in beds required as more and more people are admitted to the hospital.

We need to protect these professionals who are risking their lives to make sure we are cared for when admitted to the hospital. We need to honor these professionals by following the science, not tweets pushing false narratives.

And if we truly want to honor our healthcare professionals who are selflessly fighting for us, then we owe it to them to wear the mask, maintain distance and practice   proper hygiene.