Dear Editor,Since the start of COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve all heard about the importance of flattening the curve, with social distancing being the primary way to achieve it. But our need to flatten the curve didn’t end as restrictions began to ease and businesses began to reopen.The new coronavirus strain will be among us for some time, and a flat curve doesn’t stay flat if we don’t remain committed to the measures and precautions that got us there in the first place.By now, you’re familiar with how the virus spreads. If you’re infected and cough, clear your throat or even speak, you may potentially spread the virus to someone that’s nearby. While we hear a lot about ‘person-to-person’ spread, it’s important to understand that a person can infect more than just one other person. In fact, on average, an infected individual can spread coronavirus to two to three other people. And, in the right conditions, an infected person can spread the virus to more than just three people so it becomes important to follow the guidelines seriously. Social distancing is your social responsibility to fight this menace and we must follow that. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a new level of personal accountability in front of us. To slow the spread of coronavirus and protect health & vitality of our communities, we must each remain committed to the extra precautions, our public health officials are recommending.At the core of these preventive measures is the need for continued social distancing – even if a person is healthy and had taken the vaccine shot. No doubt vaccination is there but still we need to follow the preventive measures to stay safe.Practice of wearing a mask in public needs to be followed by all. Practicing proper hand washing and cough etiquette. Thinking twice before visiting vulnerable loved ones, especially if you’ve recently dined out at a restaurant or traveled for vacation or work at or visited any public place.We must remember that the coronavirus is still here – and our responsibilities to protect ourselves, each other and our communities for as long as this pandemic lasts and everyone is vaccinated.Moreover, that does not mean that individuals who are vaccinated can start behaving as if the pandemic is over for them but it is not so. Caution and vigilance have to remain the watchwords, particularly until such times as vaccination programme is much further advanced in the whole population.For a start, no vaccine is 100 per cent effective. Some people who receive it will not get benefit of full protection that the vast majority will enjoy. We also have no certainty yet on what vaccination means for infectiousness and transmissibility. It is possible that a vaccinated person, while protected themselves, may still pass the virus on to someone who has yet to get the vaccine shot. Therefore, it is essential that we continue to follow public health advice about wearing a face covering, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands etc.Simmi Upadhaya,Purani Mandi.
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