COVID-19 still rising
More than 600 residents of our Eastern Ohio and the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia are battling COVID-19 right now, according to public health agencies in both states.
In truth, the numbers are higher than those reported, because state counts lag behind actual local totals.
More than 70 of the coronavirus patients are residents of nursing homes in our area. It has hit several of them, with the most serious outbreak Monday at a home in New Martinsville. There, 38 residents and 17 staff members had been diagnosed with the disease.
Classes at several schools in our area were suspended because of COVID-19 cases. Both Wheeling Park and Wheeling Central high schools have been closed this week because of the disease. Beallsville and Monroe Central high schools in Monroe County previously had to close.
COVID-19 is making a deadly comeback throughout the nation. As West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice put it last week, “this terrible killer is still with us and spreading across our land…”
Indeed it is.
More than 20 cases were reported in Belmont County on Tuesday; a total of 20 in Marshall County; and 14 new cases plus one associated death in Ohio County.
There have been some indications that is because some people have dropped their guard against the epidemic and have become less conscientious about safeguards such as social distancing and use of face coverings. In Belmont County, some people refused to wear masks while participating in early, in-person voting and reportedly acted out aggressively when asked to do so. As a result, law enforcement officers are now stationed at elections headquarters daily.
It is too early to declare “mission accomplished” against the virus.
We still need to take steps to keep COVID-19 from spreading — especially to the vulnerable older people among us. If we fail to protect them adequately, the death toll will increase, perhaps dramatically.