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In celebrating our independence, remember our dependence on one another in this pandemic

It is amazing how much has been both learned and forgotten in the past three months — 94 days to be exact.

In that time, since the first resident in Warren County tested positive for COVID-19, we have gone from near panic and hysteria about the virus to now coming to a point where safety measures and precautions are all but ignored.

During the height of local and state shelter-in-place orders, we wrote an editorial challenging our leaders to learn from the mistakes made early in the pandemic; errors such as declaring certain businesses non-essential and putting restrictions in place that could never have been enforced.

But while plenty has changed in the past 94 days, and other things are forgotten, the virus and our need to take it seriously have remained.

Over the past 10 days, Warren County has seen 145 new confirmed cases of the virus and, sadly, three deaths. As our economy has opened up, beginning with the May 21 openings of the state’s casinos, we have seen 289 reported cases, which accounts for 68 percent of all the cases reported thus far during the pandemic.

While we can all agree that we have seen more cases as the economy has restarted, we can also agree that we cannot go back to a time when the economy and our society was shut down.

We must accept new normals. We must accept there are new risks and, because of those risks, there are new responsibilities.

We as individuals have a responsibility to ourselves, our families and our community. We as individuals have the responsibility to adhere to the guidelines put in place by those whose job it is to study and ultimately defeat this virus.

The very structure of our government and society allows for the freedoms that make us a great nation and leave us susceptible to a virus like this one doing such great damage. We are a free nation and an open society, both in the ideas we can discuss and in how we can go about our lives.

As we prepare for the Fourth of July holiday weekend — a three-day weekend for many — it is important we remember the advice from our health experts: wear a mask when in public; use hand sanitizer; adhere to social distancing measures; and keep the size of our indoor and outdoor gatherings limited.

This weekend is a time to celebrate our independence, but during a pandemic of this nature and of this proportion it is also important to remember independence brings with it great responsibility. We are dependent upon one another.

Do your part to slow the spread of this virus. Do your part to flatten a curve that continues to spike. Do your part to save lives.

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