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Editorial – We have to stop the spread of the virus now

Our community’s health is now up to us, and so far, we are not doing so well.

As government restrictions fade away, the economy reopens and the Stay-at-Home Order transitions to a Safer-at-Home recommendation, we all have to make decisions about our personal safety and the safety of those we come in contact with.

Since the reopening weekend, May 15-17, coronavirus cases in Prince Edward County have increased by 56. After experiencing a slow increase of one to two cases here and there the first two months of the pandemic, we are now seeing daily increases of greater than five cases. The increase is enough to have an obviously concerned Dr. H. Robert Nash, director of the Piedmont Health District, calling for community leaders to provide constant communication about how to slow the spread of the disease.

There is no long-term care facility, huge prison or meat processing plant to point toward as the reason for the increase. Health officials have made it clear — this is all us. The increases we are seeing are almost purely community spread, and that’s not good. It’s not good because the nature of this virus allows those infected to be asymptomatic, spreading the virus without knowing the damage they are doing.

If Prince Edward becomes a coronavirus hot spot through the summer, we risk lives. But we also risk losing the possibility of school starting in the fall and the return of the two colleges. We need to get this under control quickly. 

The way to do that is to get back to basics. We don’t have a vaccine. We don’t have a treatment for this virus. The only strategy available to avoid this virus is prevention and avoidance.  

First, wear a mask. It’s not a political position, it is a good idea. It’s no fun, but for now, it is necessary for our health and the health of our neighbors.

Wash your hands. It’s been said so many times in so many different ways because it is so important. Also, use hand sanitizer regularly throughout the day.

Social distancing is important. We see photos from around the country of crowded lakes and beaches. That is not helping our recovery. Maintain six feet of distance from others.

Stay home when you can. This is not the time to go out and meet and mingle. Since reopening, Prince Edward County’s cases have increased by 76%. Coronavirus is in our community. If it was important to stay isolated in the middle of March when Prince Edward had two cases, it is much more important now.

It’s been a long spring of isolation and lockdowns, but the fight is far from over. It could be argued that for our community, the battle against coronavirus is just beginning.

(The views in this editorial are of The Farmville Herald editorial staff. This editorial was written by Editor Roger Watson. He can be reached at Editor@FarmvilleHerald.com or (434) 808-0622.)