Vaccinations are the best way for our community to weather the virus. We must also maintain precautions.

So get your shots, and 14 days after the second dose, hug your vaccinated grandparents or loved ones you’ve been missing this past year.

You will get a warm embrace, and you’ll put our community on the quickest path to recovery.

When mingling with unvaccinated folks, however, proceed with care.

After vaccinated individuals come into contact with the virus they might produce enough virus to spread it before antibodies kick in.

To find out if that’s true, scientists have recruited college students from 20-some campuses. Half will be vaccinated immediately, while the other half will wait four months.

Both groups and their close contacts will get daily nose swabs to see if vaccinated people can spread the disease.

This study shows how our understanding of the coronavirus will continue to evolve.

National health experts are learning from policy mistakes made early in the pandemic.

For example, treating the virus like influenza put too much emphasis on tracking symptomatic patients. Many silent spreaders — people with mild or no symptoms — went undetected.

Now we know better, and it’s not too late to apply that insight.

If you needed to take a trip to shake off cabin fever — mental health matters, too — then get tested. The more people who get tested, the greater chance of nipping future outbreaks before they bloom.

The Teton County Health Department makes testing free and easy for spring break travelers. Even if you didn’t travel you can sign up for ongoing random surveillance testing at TetonCountyWY.gov/2212/Testing.

If you don’t work in a hospital you might not realize front-line health care workers are still carrying a heavy load. Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center reported last week that COVID-19 patients from the Tetons area are adding to the burden on the trauma center, which needs to keep beds available for heart attacks, burns and other critical care. Read more on page 10.

Some previously vaccinated health care workers have tested positive in recent weeks, removing them from the workforce temporarily.

Getting vaccinated and staying vigilant — through testing, masking and social distancing — will help the community lower the viral load in the herd, so to speak, which will ultimately lighten everyone’s load.

Together we can surpass the inoculation goal that public health experts say will help achieve our much needed threshold of resistance as a community.

By the News&Guide’s editorial board: Johanna Love, Rebecca Huntington, Kevin Olson and Adam Meyer.

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