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Staff file photo by C.B. Schmelter / On May 5, fans enjoyed the opening game between the Chattanooga Lookouts and the Rocket City Trash Pandas at AT&T Field in Chattanooga. After having their 2020 season cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was the Lookouts' first home game in over 600 days.

It seems that everywhere we look, we see signs of life returning to normal in our post-pandemic world.

* The Public Library has reopened and the Lookouts are playing ball again.

* The nation's first Smart Factory Institute is opening in Chattanooga at the Volkswagen Academy to provide manufacturers with ideas and help to improve with advanced technology.

* The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its COVID-19 schools guidance to prioritize in-person schooling in the fall, and Amazon has dubbed Dalewood Middle School a Future Engineer school and agreed to provide students there with access to computer science materials and curriculum through a partnership between Amazon and Project STEM.

* Even the new northbound ramp to Interstate 75 is finally open as work chugs along on Chattanooga's 75/24 split.

After months of pandemic headlines, this is all welcome news.

Except — we're not out of the pandemic yet.

And other headlines seem to indicate it may get worse before it gets better.

Cases here and in other Southern states especially are ticking up as the Delta variant has become the dominant coronavirus strain in the U.S. and red states have dug in their heels of vaccine resistance.

It likely won't help that Pfizer, one of the makers of one of our vaccines, said Thursday it is seeing waning immunity and is pushing a booster shot six months after a second dose.

Within hours, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the CDC said the equivalent of "not so fast."

The agencies issued a joint statement saying Americans do not need booster shots yet.

The World Health Organization also chimed in, telling CNN, "We don't know whether booster vaccines will be needed to maintain protection against COVID-19 until additional data is collected."

So here we go on the vaccine roller-coaster again. And, no, it's not that anyone is lying. The virus is changing and data about it and vaccines can and will change with it.

As it stands now, just over half of Americans have had at least one dose of vaccine, and among the 158 million fully vaccinated people in the U.S., more than half received the Pfizer shots.

It shouldn't be shocking that we may need boosters. After all, most of us get new flu shots every year. What's more, since so many people — especially in the South — are resisting any COVID vaccine at all, the variants will just keep coming and each new wave could be more contagious and more dangerous.

Already COVID-19 has sickened 33.8 million Americans and killed nearly than 607,000, including 509 here in Hamilton County. Around the world, more than 4 million have died.

The only way to beat this virus is to stop it from mutating, and the only way to do that is to stop giving it unprotected people to infect.

Get vaccinated. No matter how many shots it takes.

The world is out there waiting for us all to get back to our lives — post-pandemic.

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