OK, it’s getting a little scary again. Let’s make a point of being calm and respectful.

The hard new truth is that the more virulent COVID-19 strain first discerned in the United Kingdom, is here in the U.S., with quite a foothold in California. The variant is expected to be the dominant strain here by March and looks to be much more infectious and more deadly.

There are several groups eligible for vaccination in the current phase, but county health directors have some leeway in setting the lineup. Our Bi-County Health Officer, Dr. Phuong Luu, is now focusing use of vaccine inventory on those 65 and older. She’s not doing that because of anything resembling disrespect for those not being vaccinated just yet in Yuba-Sutter.

It’s two things: a very limited and sporadic supply of vaccine; and the severe effects the virus can have on the 65-and-older crowd.

While the virus, especially the newer strains, is likely to infect more people, it remains very likely that those over 65 will be much more likely to become infected, be sick, be hospitalized, and die. People from the age of 65 to 75 are five times more likely than younger adults to be hospitalized, it was reported in a news release from Bi-County Health, and 90 times more likely to die.

From a practical point of view, it makes sense to focus first on older citizens, a large sector of our population. If we inoculate more in this group, the more the death rate and the infection rate will go down.

Dr. Steve Blair, president and CEO of Sutter North Medical Group, was quoted in the press release agreeing that the plan to concentrate on the older segment makes scientific sense. “In addition to limiting the spread, we need to reduce the overall mortality by vaccinating the most vulnerable age groups first,” he said.

Here’s hoping that the vaccine supply routed to Yuba-Sutter and surrounds is soon increased and shipped more reliably so we can expand our vaccination clinics serving older residents, then other important groups, including teachers, emergency personnel and other essential workers … and then everyone.

We wish everyone could be vaccinated all at once. But that won’t happen. Since it won’t it makes sense to protect those most at risk first.

Our View editorials represent the opinion of the Appeal-Democrat and its editorial board and are edited by the publisher and/or editor. Members of the editorial board include: Publisher Glenn Stifflemire and Editor Steve Miller.

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