Let the party begin — at least that’s what everyone seems to be saying these days.

That’s because most cities, counties and states across the U.S. have either relaxed or completely lifted COVID-19 restrictions after the numbers of infections and deaths have thankfully and significantly fallen.

But before we go overboard, let us remember that the U.S. recently acknowledged the somber news that more than 600, 000 men, women and children have died due to the coronavirus.

And infections and deaths continue each day, albeit at much lower numbers than America was recording over a year ago. Consider that the number of deaths, 600,000, equals the yearly death rate for cancer in the U.S.

That puts COVID-19 at the top of the list of causes of death in the U.S.

In the District, the D.C. Council has given Mayor Bowser the authority to either extend the state of emergency through July 25, or lift it now. She has chosen to invite other Americans to D.C. for the upcoming Fourth of July festivities. Of course, she has asked participants to wear masks, follow social distance protocols and urged everyone to be sure they’re vaccinated.

In the commonwealth, Virginia Gov. Northam will allow the state of emergency order to end at the end of June. Meanwhile, in Maryland, while the official end of the state of emergency is July 11, Gov. Hogan has said he has no plans to extend that date.

These dates change from day to day, but in all cases, it’s apparent that our leaders believe we have rounded the curve and weathered the storm.

Still, variants of the virus, most notably the delta variant, have health officials concerned and with good reason. In the United Kingdom for example, leaders have delayed reopening plans because infection rates are once again climbing.

Sure, we want to get out and about. Everyone’s tired of being housebound. But this must be done carefully and with the best science we can muster guiding us.

As the great Aesop once wrote, “slow and steady wins the race.”

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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