by Curt Kovener
Festering uneasiness across the country is underscored by the growing numbers of new cases of coronavirus, especially across the sun belt and western states. Arizona, Texas, California, Florida and the Carolinas are among the new hot spots. Emerging cases in those places alone reveal the truth about the current state of the COVID-19 public health crisis.
Overall, the U.S. has seen record levels of more than 50,000 new cases per day last week. The death toll has risen to 130,000-plus with more than 3 million total cases registered since the pandemic reached American shores earlier this year.
Hoosiers can take some comfort in knowing that neither their state nor surrounding states are part of the new coronavirus mix. There are reasons for that. People throughout the Midwest did the hard work in recent months to keep the spread of the virus under control.
By & large we made sacrifices, followed rules and guidelines, and showed respect for their neighbors.
But that story could be changing. The state has seen increases in cases the past two weeks and deaths are now approaching 2,600. Total cases exceed 51,000 and are increasing.
Jackson and Scott Counties have managed to avoid becoming a hot spot, although total cases continue to climb. As of this writing, Jackson County is up to 478 cases with 3,885 people tested for a higher than state average (9.2%) of 12.3%. Jackson County has had three deaths.
Scott County has reported 164 cases with testing 2,675 residents for a below state average of 6.1%. However, nine people have died in Scott County.
Indiana is on the brink of a complete reopening. Gov. Eric Holcomb postponed the full reopening and for the most part kept the state at status quo until later this month. That was a wise move.
States that are suffering severe spikes in cases now attribute the resurgence of the virus mostly to reopening too soon and taking a lax approach to addressing the threat at the start.
Closing wide swaths of the state’s economy was a difficult exercise and will have long-term negative effects on people, communities and institutions. But for the sake of public health, it was the right thing to do. Given time, Indiana will recover from the economic fallout. In the meantime, people’s health must remain the first priority.
We understand the urge to get back to business as usual. But now is not the time to retreat from the battle against the spread of COVID-19.
We must continue to take care of each other and minimize risks. The coronavirus is still very much in our midst and will take whatever opportunities it gets to infect more of us.
Everyone can play a role by wearing masks in public, avoiding large gatherings and washing their hands.
The prescription remains the same and has helped Indiana maintain some semblance of coronavirus control.
Don’t stop now.