Why are the cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus rising all around us? Simple says Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who is a doctor.
“They are rising right now because people are gathering, and they’re not wearing masks,” he says. “If you look at where they are not wearing masks, you see the increased numbers.”
At a news briefing this week, Northam wondered why people don’t wear masks and keep a social distance from each other.
How do we encourage someone when they get up in the morning and go outside the house to put a mask on? That’s not asking a lot, but it certainly is for some people.
Northam says it may be time to start fining businesses who don’t enforce the rules that require their employees and customers to wear masks.
“We are certainly looking at businesses and making sure they comply,” the governor said. I will really encourage Virginians to follow the guidelines.”
Nice thoughts, governor, but don’t expect an increase in compliance, especially here in Southwestern Virginia, where increases in cases rise higher and faster than the rest of the Old Dominion.
Virginia’s Secretary of Health says the reluctance to wear masks has brought sharp increases in hospitalizations and infections of health care workers, which causes hospitals to cut back on other medical care.
“Every time I see someone not wearing a mask, it’s hard because I know that person is making a choice to take a risk for other people. One of the messages that sometimes gets forgotten is the purpose of wearing a mask is to protect the people around you,” said Dr. Cynthia Morrow, director of the Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts, during her weekly news briefing Tuesday.
I hope the numbers tell a compelling story. We have 86 people in our community in the hospital right now struggling. We have lost 96 members of our community to this disease. If we can just think about wearing a mask as our gift to our community, as our statement that “I care about you,” maybe there will be some people who will start wearing a mask.
Cases in Roanoke and Alleghany districts rose by more than 128 cases, in just last week. Virginia’s cases are rising by well over a thousand cases by day, topping 1,700 on Tuesday and 1,500 Wednesday.
Dr. Morrow wants schools to postpone winter sports expected to start next month. The Richmond School District and five schools in Eastern Virginia are doing so, along with private schools in Roanoke and elsewhere.
Dr. Noell Bissell, in a statement issue this week, said she fears a rise in cases because of events like Thanksgiving dinners and other events where families gather with friends.
There is no genetic immunity that prevents you from giving this virus to your mother or your grandfather or any other loved ones in the house. I’m not saying don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. But if you are planning to gather with people outside of your household, think about ways to do it more safely.
I can promise you that Virginia is very diverse and one size doesn’t fit all. That’s why we have given the localities decisions on returning to school, and that’s the path we will continue to follow.”
“The entire country is out of control,” Dr. Dara Kass, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York who treated numerous Covid-19 patients this spring and had the virus herself, tells The New York Times. “When you see the Dakotas and Montana and Oklahoma and Utah and Iowa and Texas — all these states — overrun with cases, it’s jarring to know that no matter what we do here, it’s going to depend on the action or inaction of leadership and people everywhere else.”
The fictional character Forrest Gump, plays in the movie, has a better message that can be applied to those who don’t wear masks and/or ignore social distancing or other recommendations.
“Stupid is as stupid does,” Gump says.
Deadly pandemics like COVID-19 not only punish the stupid who don’t wear masks, it hurts those who are around them.