The rate of new cases of Covid-19 has slowed on the East End since the end of January, but that does not mean that the public can be any less cautious. Only about a tenth of the Suffolk County population had been fully vaccinated as of this week, well below the number that would begin to stop the spread.
Countywide, there is reason for maintained concern. There have been about 600 new cases of Covid-19 recorded each day this month. At the virus’s low point during August, only about 50 cases each day were found. If anything, the daily figure has been creeping upward since a low of 425 on Feb. 25.
It is to be expected that people would let down their guard against Covid-19 after a year of pandemic disruptions. The record development of vaccines and, despite complaints, successful distribution over the past month and a half may have sent a message that everything is fine. It is not. The Centers for Disease Control continues to insist on strict avoidance measures, including wearing two masks when outside the home. Looming as well is the risk that more aggressive variants of the coronavirus may cause a new and deadly spike.
After 12 months of differing levels of lockdown, many people are eager to see friends and relatives. But hasty reunions before the virus is under control could put the most vulnerable at risk. Courses of treatment have improved since the deadly first weeks of the pandemic, but survival chances for those with certain underlying conditions remain low. With daily Covid-19 cases in the county still in the hundreds — and Long Island seeing a higher rate of new cases than almost any region in the state — now is not the time to give up hard-won ground.