Covid-19: Is there a downside to being careful?

NEMiss.News No Downside to Being Careful
Governor Tate Reeves and MS State Health Officer, Thomas E. Dobbs, MD. Photos: AP/Rogelio V. Solis
June 20th, 2020     Featured Opinion


New Albany, MS – On Wednesday June 17, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported the state’s highest volume of new positive coronavirus cases. There were 489 cases reported, fifty more than the previous high of 439 on May 30th. In fact, this was the third record-breaking day since May 29th.

Oddly enough, this is the last report to date – due, according to MSDH, to “on-going computer problems.” We are unsure why some official has not been able to avail himself of radio, television, social media or, God forbid, news media to update the public. Pencils, legal pads, calculators and telephones can still be used for gathering basic statistics. All we really need is basic, accurate, consistent information.

Safety is getting lots of lip-service

National and state governments, understandably anxious to reopen the economy, forged ahead with loosening of regulations in May. However, they continuously hedged their bets by advocating the requisite precautions: two weeks of downward trending prior to reopening; social distancing; use of masks; limitations on gathering sizes, etc.

Mississippi’s “Safer at Home” and “Safer Return”  Executive Orders have been expanded and/or extended a few times. There have always been phrases that seemed to require precautions,  but there have been no signs that the state is enforcing its safety requirements.

Tuesday, June 16th saw six states reporting their all time high days. Today, 20 states’ statistics are now on the rise. Included are several southern states, which were among the first states to “reopen.” We don’t know about other southern states, but Mississippi began reopening without the “recommended” two weeks of downward trends. The Governor’s office and MSDH failed to adhere to important guidelines.

Several other rising states are ramping up hospital readiness and mandating precautions to be taken. Mississippi has been “business as usual,” except, recently, with no current information on pertinent COVID-19 statistics.

Additionally, it seems the general public did not hear the part about continuing to use their common sense to protect themselves and others. Memorial Day gatherings, funerals and frat parties are among the causes of rising statistics in our state in recent days.

On June 4th, while their computers and media outlet connections were still functioning, MS officials announced that, earlier that week, the huge task of testing all nursing home patients and staff had been completed. So, we can reasonably infer that most of the recently announced positive cases are in the general public.

A quick drive to shopping and gathering areas in any North Mississippi town gives evidence that much of the general public believes that, if there ever were any danger, it has now passed.

Meanwhile, the President, who should be the “Concerned-Person-in-Chief” of the U.S., not only refuses to be seen in a mask, but also now states that some Americans are wearing masks only to signal their dislike of him. So much for the bully pulpit—now become a bullying pulpit.

COVID-19 vs Influenza

Here are a few non-political facts from the world of medicine and science: COVID-19 is worse than Influenza because:

  • It is new, so no one already has immunity.
  • There is no long-term data available from which to draw concrete conclusions.
  • There is no Covid-19 vaccine. So, the approximate 50% of the population who normally get a flu vaccine haven’t been able to get a Covid-19 vaccine to protect themselves and others from its spread.
  • The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that COVID-19 has an incubation period of 2-14 days and is believed to be contagious up to 3 days before symptoms begin; flu incubates in only 1-4 days, and is contagious for only about one day before symptoms. This is one reason why people with COVID-19 infect more other people than those with flu.
  • About 20% of COVID-19 patients require hospitalization; about 1% of flu victims are hospitalized, according to the CDC. This is why hospitals get overwhelmed if the infection rate curve is too steep.
  • Between February 6 and June 19, 2020 (4.5mos), there have been 118,435 deaths from COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. From October 1, 2019 – April 4, 2020 (6+ mos), there were up to 62,000 flu deaths. (CDC only estimates, because flu is no longer a reportable disease in much of the U.S.)

Just the facts

Here are a few important questions to answer for yourself:

  • Are there, or are there not, over 118,000 dead, in this country alone, from a virus most of us had never even heard of before the New Year?
  • Are there any signs that the coronavirus suddenly disappeared a month ago when the national and state governments began to “reopen” the economy?
  • Why should those who don’t believe the virus is a myth or a lie or a political conspiracy allow anyone to make them feel their patriotism is in question for wearing a mask or taking other precautions?
  • What is the problem with taking precautions?
  • What is the downside to exhibiting common sense in the face of a pandemic?

Once you have your answers, act accordingly.  Stop conforming your actions to other folks’ answers. It is highly unlikely that the government will move to lock downs again. You must take responsibility for yourself.

This is a long-haul issue. Vaccines are many months away. Yes, we are all tired of dealing with Covid-19, on many levels. Unfortunately, the virus will not tire out, and it will not go away as long as hosts are making themselves so readily available.

There is absolutely no downside to being careful.

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From the Community

Kathie Kerr says:

As always, you are the voice of reason

Vonda Burroughs says:

Well said!!!! Thank you.

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