Health officials say COVID isn’t over, caution unvaccinated people are still at risk, including children

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — On this Memorial Day, many are celebrating the start of summer.

Still, it’s not quite the summer we want it to be with us still being in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many health experts say the pandemic isn’t over, and they’re urging parents to have their children vaccinated.

Call it the unofficial start of summer. For many, Memorial Day means ushering in the return of backyard barbecues, the gathering of family and friends, and saying goodbye to wearing face masks.

But Shelby County health experts say going back to life as we knew it before the pandemic requires being fully vaccinated.

“You can go on to a full-on rock concert, full on church service indoors and be relatively safe, if you’re vaccinated,” said Jeff Warren, a COVID-19 Task force member and city councilman.

Warren said the pandemic is not officially over.

“The problem remains for the people who have not been vaccinated. They still remain at risk,” Warren said.

In recent weeks, the number of COVID cases has dropped dramatically in Shelby County compared to this time last year. On Monday, the health department reported only 42 newly confirmed cases of the virus but caution is still being urged.

“The COVID pandemic is not over. The virus is still here and still spreading,” said David Sweat, the health department deputy director.

Sweat says many people in Shelby County are still vulnerable to the COVID virus.

“It’s in lower levels, but it’s still spreading, and we still have people who vulnerable and susceptible to the virus,” Sweat said.

Warren added, “We’ve been seeing more and more cases of long COVID. This is people who have been previously healthy and are now aren’t. They have brain fog. They can’t think. They used to be runners. They can’t run.”

COVID-19 is a disease health experts say can still be danger this summer for non-vaccinated people, including children.

 “You don’t want to have your kids debilitated or not really being to enjoy sports because now they’ve got an asthmatic component that they didn’t have before. It’s important to take your kid and get them vaccinated,” Warren said.

Health experts say people who are fully vaccinated can go without masks. As a result, many places have dropped their mask requirements.

Since younger children aren’t vaccinated yet, parents may feel safer avoiding those places.

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