Last year, Gov. Brian Kemp stopped short of a statewide mask requirement to help stave off COVID-19 surges across Georgia, especially among the most vulnerable. 

The governor opted, instead, to go on a statewide tour, encouraging mask wearing and social distancing.

At the time, Kemp argued that the people of Georgia did not have to have a mandate in order to do the right thing. 

Of course, now we all know that many people adamantly refused to wear face coverings to protect others and themselves and Georgia got hit hard. 

Back then, we were concerned about our older and more fragile friends, neighbors and family members. 

The elderly were the most vulnerable and, by far, made up the largest percentages of COVID-19 positive cases, hospitalizations and deaths. 

Now, our primary concern is another vulnerable population. 

This time young people, sometimes very young people, are testing positive, getting sick, being hospitalized and some are dying. 

All this is happening as students return to in-person school classrooms. 

None of us want to go back into full shutdown mode as the delta variant surges throughout our state. 

But short of that, there are definite things we can all do. 

Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can wear masks when indoors in public spaces where social distancing is not possible. 

The unvaccinated can be even more thoughtful and wear a mask both outdoors and indoors when in public. 

And, of course, everyone who is eligible and not vaccinated can, and should, get a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Not only is it the right thing to do, it is the only thing to do to protect our communities and and stop this surge.

Where is Gov. Kemp? We know he is very unlikely to require face coverings in schools as children return to the classroom. We know how he feels about requirements or mandates, but even short of that where is his voice? Where is his leadership? Where is his statewide tour encouraging the people of Georgia to do the right thing? 

That brings us back to the single most important thing that can be done. If you are not vaccinated, please go now, get your vaccine, and help protect our children. 

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