There’s some good news for all Missourians this week: COVID-19 is on the retreat. Missouri now ranks second lowest amongst all fifty states in average daily case rate over the last 7 days according to the Centers for Disease Control.
That’s good news for a couple of reasons. For one, it means fewer Missourians are getting sick, fewer are going to the hospital, and fewer are needing intensive care. I’m glad Missourians are healthier, but I’m also glad this is taking pressure off our doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers that have been fighting on the front lines of this pandemic for more than a year.
It’s also good news because it’s a sign that the vaccines are working. In Missouri, we’ve prioritized getting the vaccine to those who need it most. That means our healthcare workers, our seniors, and those with health conditions that put them at the most risk for serious complications from COVID-19 are first in line to get the vaccine if they want it. We’ve made a lot of good progress on that.
As of today, nearly 500,000 Missourians have already gotten both doses of the vaccine, and nearly 1.5 million doses have been administered. We had some difficulties getting the ball rolling on these vaccinations in some places. Much of that had to do with the logistical difficulties of storing vaccines and getting doses where they were needed.
The good news is that many of those initial kinks have been worked out. We’re now ramping up distribution and getting ready to open Phase 1B – Tier 3 on March 15. With this new phase, critical infrastructure workers will be eligible to receive the vaccine, including teachers and childcare workers.
All this good news is reason to celebrate, but we shouldn’t forget what it took to get here. The time for lockdowns, shutdowns, and heavy-handed government mandates is over, but we should all still take reasonable, commonsense precautions to stay healthy, like washing our hands and covering our mouths when we cough and sneeze. It’s the same thing we do to keep from spreading the cold and flu every year. It can still have a big impact on limiting the spread of COVID-19.
The numbers are down, and the science is clear. It’s time to reopen small businesses, reopen our schools, reopen our country, and get America back on track.