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Editor, The Beacon:

During the height of the pandemic, I was pleased so many DeLand businesses and citizens were wearing masks and practicing safe health protocols.

The good news is masks and vaccinations work. With half the nation vaccinated, cases, hospitalizations and deaths are down from those terrible winter months.

Overall, 34 million Americans caught COVID-19; 607,000 have died. Estimates are 30 percent or 10 million survivors will suffer long-term if not permanent damage to organs, including heart, lungs, kidneys, liver and brain.

This pandemic is far from over. The delta variant now predominates. Cases doubled in the past 14 days. Hospitalizations and deaths are up, in some places worse than those terrible winter months. With the elderly largely vaccinated, ICUs and ventilators now serve the unvaccinated between 20 and 50 years of age. Florida is well above the national average for these upticks.

Sadly, many merchants and shoppers have abandoned masks indoors and refuse to get vaccinated. Staff at a local doctor’s office are unvaccinated, maskless, and get within inches of patients’ faces while taking their vitals.

Gov. DeSantis approves this, but he is not an infectious-disease expert. DeSantis is a politician, who dances to the tune of his corporate donors.

Be smart. Stomp out COVID before a variant evolves that beats the vaccines.

Sam Sloss

DeLand

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