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Editorial, 7/15: In post-COVID world, we're relearning to engage with each other
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Editorial, 7/15: In post-COVID world, we're relearning to engage with each other

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The post-pandemic landscape has organically created a personality test -- and sadly -- a politicized pronouncement of sorts. How one approaches someone else these days is telling, but it tends to start with these three words: 

"I am vaccinated."

But where does it go from there? Are you an elbow-bumper? A stay-clear while remaining socially distanced type? Or the type who throws caution to the wind and just goes in for the long-awaited hug?

There are no wrong answers. Only levels of comfort. And layers of understanding.

It’s fair to assume the dating game has taken a hit, too. The rules have changed after more than 15 months of isolation – 15 months without most types of social interaction. And now, figuring out how to get back amongst a group – many times a group of longtime friends -- has proven to have its share of challenges.

Many of Lincoln’s churches have done away with the “peace be with you” portion of the service, when the congregation ordinarily would spend a few minutes shaking hands with people in their vicinity.

That hasn’t stopped the number of pre-service embraces – and the judgment that has come with those signs of friendship, be it a hug, a kiss on the cheek or a handshake. Let he without sin, shake the first hand.

Clearly, not everyone is approaching the post-pandemic world in the same way. For every person willing to throw caution to the wind with physical embraces, there are others who are struggling to ease back into a world where personal interaction is done without the safety net of social distancing and facemasks.

Vaccines clearly help. Divisiveness doesn't.

Our government has gone out of its way to ensure that vaccines are available to everyone who wants one. Those who have received their full dosage should feel secure with the knowledge that they are as protected as possible from a virus that rocked our world since early 2020.

We'll never hit a 100% vaccination rate, but the new variant of the virus should cause everyone to think twice. Last week, Lincoln had its first COVID-related death in months – and it was someone who had been vaccinated.

That means that no matter how bulletproof we want to believe the vaccinations make us, there are no sure-fire remedies to this virus. Good medical advice and good judgment should dictate personal vaccination decisions -- not politics or pressure.

We say that as the world has opened up, as the concerts are taking place, as restaurants are beginning to get back to full swing and – most notably – as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has announced there will not be any restrictions on the number of fans at Memorial Stadium this fall.

It’s still up to all of us to use caution, while moving forward with our lives. The virus, we’re learning, will be with us going forward. Learning to live with it -- and with each other -- is essential. 

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