THUMBS UP

Thumbs up to the exciting developments with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine that’s supposed to be 90% effective.

We hope that the percentage of effectiveness only increases.

For Pfizer, the next step is to obtain “emergency use authorization” from the Food and Drug Administration, hopefully later this month. That step would allow for limited distribution before the drug company seeks full FDA approval for general public use in 2021.

Once available, the vaccine needs to be administered first to front line health care workers, those hospitalized and in long-term care facilities. Questions remain about distribution, so don’t throw away your mask any time soon.

THUMBS UP

More thumbs up for personal responsibility.

We respect local control, but local control of the coronavirus is most important as we head into flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says that wearing a mask in public not only protects others but also protects the wearer to some degree.

Earlier this week, the White House Coronavirus Task Force again recommended a statewide mask mandate for Oklahoma amid a surge of coronavirus cases and hospitalizations that includes an increase of over 2,000 cases per day during the past seven days.

Gov. Kevin Stitt recently joined physicians to call on residents to voluntarily wear masks, socially distance and frequently wash their hands. He hasn’t considered a state mandate.

COVID-19 numbers continue to get worse. Thanksgiving will be much different this year because of the pandemic.

If you don’t want to spend it in a hospital on a ventilator, or telling sad stories about Grandma’s fatal case of the virus, wear your mask, avoid gatherings, wash your hands, practice social distancing. A vaccine is on the way, but it is not here yet.

THUMBS DOWN

Thumbs down for the end of allowing responsible virtual meetings during the outbreak.

he temporary law allowing this was created in a rush last spring. Since March, the Legislature has permitted Oklahoma public bodies to meet virtually. Throughout this spring and summer of the pandemic, we’ve been able to participate in nonprofit board meetings safely via Zoom.

Andy Moore, director of Freedom of Information Oklahoma, said meetings should be held in person whenever safely possible, government bodies should record and archive meetings and language should be clarified about how meetings are posted.

Also, government leaders need to state how they plan to attend a meeting and stick to it.

“We think it should be extended, but there should be some provisions about that,” Moore said.

Oklahoma Rep. and House Minority Leader Emily Virgin recently called on fellow lawmakers and Gov. Kevin Stitt to convene in a special session to extend the Open Meetings Act provisions.

In a shortsighted move, lawmakers have no plans to protectively address the issue before the new legislative session begins in 2021. That’s a bad move.

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The News & Eagle Editorial Board meets weekly to form the newspaper's stances on mostly local and state and occasionally national issues.

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