The new coronavirus is continuing to spread in the United States and around the world. Over the last week we have experienced a succession of daily records for the number of people testing positive for the virus.
The U.S. has 4% of the world’s population, but 25% of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Many feel that the news about the coronavirus is overblown, and others think it is fake.
Science and health officials are struggling to get their message across to our people.
This is a pandemic.
Globally, there are 10 million people who have been infected with more than 500,000 deaths - since December.
At home in the United States, we have over 2.5 million cases and 128,000 deaths.
Younger people are now the largest group in our country who are testing positive. They are dying less often, but are perpetuating the spread through our communities.
Churches. Choir practices. Gyms. Bars. Beaches. Weddings. Workplaces.
These are outbreak areas around the country and in West Virginia.
Rt values (reproductive numbers for how many people are infected on average by a single person with COVID-19) are rising above 1 in 34 states, meaning the virus is spreading. If Rt is above 1.0, the virus will spread quickly. When Rt is below 1.0, the virus will stop spreading. Florida hit a record of almost 10,000 newly diagnosed cases in one day.
Intensive care unit beds are filling up in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California.
We await new drugs. A new vaccine.
We wait to be rescued.
We need to rescue ourselves.
How do we accomplish this feat?
We do what West Virginians have done for many, many years.
We take care of ourselves. Our neighbors. Our communities. Our healthcare workers. Our first responders. Our service workers. Our state.
We rise to the challenge as resilient Mountaineers.
- We commit to wearing masks. Masks work if 80 percent of us use them. Remember, masks reduce the droplet you create when you breathe, talk, sing, laugh, yawn, and yell. Keep your mask over your nose and mouth. If 80 percent of West Virginia wear masks or face covers, we will reduce COVID-19 spread like a vaccine. This alone will drive Rt levels to less than 1, and stop the virus from spreading.
- We keep our physical distance. Our goal is 6 feet or more from people we don’t live with all the time. We stay distanced - even if we wear a mask.
- We stay at home when we can and when we are ill. We protect others this way.
- We avoid the 3 C’s. We avoid closed indoor spaces, constant contact with those we don’t live with, and crowds.
- We cover our coughs and sneezes. Masks are less effective in blocking droplet aerosolization from forceful coughs or sneezes. Cover them in the crook of your elbow or shoulder.
- We wash our hands. Good handwashing for 20 seconds with soap and warm water or with hand sanitizer with 70 percent alcohol content.
- We will cover our eyes in higher risk environments. Eye protection is an added step with masks to protect you in places with a lot of people and closed spaces.
If we commit to these safeguards, we can be the leader in our country to control COVID-19 and get back to the life we all want.
If we don’t, we have the most vulnerable population in the country.
Coronavirus is spreading in the world, at the state and national level.
Let’s rise up together and do what West Virginia does. Rally together. Demonstrate strong community and caring for each other.
At this time, in this pandemic, there is no more resilient place or finer people.
Let’s be the model and beacon for others.
West Virginia Strong.