A year ago, who would have thought we'd be where we are now?
Much of our country was essentially shut down. Students were at home, attempting distance learning. Workers — the fortunate ones, at least — were working from home. Restaurants were closing and starting to adapt to carry-out/delivery options in an attempt to survive.
The global pandemic was worsening with no end in sight. Developing a successful vaccine, many believed, was a longshot.
As of a week ago, about a quarter of Missourians have received at least one of two vaccine shots. An estimated 880,000 Missourians became eligible to get the vaccine under Phase 2 of the state's vaccine rollout plan.
As of April 9, all Missourians will be eligible to get the vaccine, which has been determined to be highly effective and safe. While our state lags behind the national average in vaccinating its population, we're still seeing COVID numbers plummeting.
As we reported Thursday, Cole County Health Department Director Kristi Campbell said they are averaging less that 10 positive cases a week. They had two positive cases reported over the weekend and two cases reported Tuesday.
Local hospital COVID admissions are low to nonexistent, depending on the day.
"Most of last week, we had zero or one patient with a positive case of COVID," said Dr. Randall Haight, of Capital Region Medical Center. "What is exciting to see is when you look across the state, the number of people 65 and older who have received a vaccine is well over 60 percent."
State and national lawmakers are pushing to open our country back up. Locally, we're seeing encouraging signs on restaurant marquees: "Our dining room is now open."
All this is to say: We're winning the battle against COVID. So let's not let up.
Wear masks when appropriate. Wash your hands. Avoid large crowds. And consult your doctor about getting vaccinated. If your doctor recommends it, don't hesitate to get your shot.
It will help to protect you and others around you. It will be one more nail in the COVID-19 coffin, so we can go back to living our lives.