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We can work together to retire this virus to where it belongs — history

We understand the frustration. We understand the fatigue.

For eight months — yes, eight months — our community has dealt with the overwhelming impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 29, state health officials confirmed the first case of the virus involving a Warren County resident. The state’s first case had been reported 18 days earlier and it was simply a matter of time before Warren County got on the board.

Since then, more than 1,750 people here have been infected and, sadly, as of Friday, 57 have died as a result of contracting the virus.

We understand the frustration. We understand the fatigue.

In the early months of the local pandemic, we were shocked as one or two cases were reported each day.

Leaders on the state and local levels began looking at ways to curtail the spread of the virus. The governor shut down schools and abruptly ended high school athletic seasons.

Some sectors of the economy were all but shut down by restrictions. Casinos statewide were closed, the cruise industry halted, and tourism — which is our community’s largest industry — came to a screeching halt.

Today, the economy is slowly recovering. Jobs are returning and the restrictions that once forced the closure of many businesses have been removed.

We have learned plenty about the virus. We have learned that masks and social distancing are among the best tools in mitigating its spread.

With those measures in place, our businesses can reopen, our people can return to work, and life can start returning to some sort of normalcy.

But, that normalcy has not returned fully. We are still forced to cancel many of the events — including holiday events — that we love.

This year, Vicksburg will not have a Christmas parade and the annual 105.5 Christmas Caroling event at the Vicksburg Convention Center will not happen.

And, this year, many of us have had to change our holiday plans by not traveling or visiting loved ones. It’s all part of an effort to keep the most vulnerable among us safe.

We all agree that not everyone reacts the same way to this virus. It impacts every person differently. That is what is so scary about this virus — the unknown. Many who have it, do not know they have it. Those who have taken every measure possible to stay safe sometimes contract the virus anyway. And those who were strong one day, find themselves in the Intensive Care Unit the next.

We are all frustrated, but there is hope. We are all fatigued, but there is relief.

If we as a community, as a state and as a nation, do what we are being asked and take the simple steps, then our slow recovery can speed up. We can make sure that our schools remain in session, that our athletes can continue their seasons and that our Class of 2021 can have a graduation shared with friends and family.

We are frustrated and fatigued, but what we cannot be is discouraged. We can do this. We will do this. And, in the end, we will retire this virus to where it belongs — the dustbin of history.