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NY dealt with COVID crisis well, but isn’t out of the woods just yet

The Millerton News Editorial

Just as New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley Region enters Phase 4 of reopening, much of the rest of the country seems to be shutting down again, as many states in the U.S. unwisely reopened way too quickly while still in the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic. But humans being humans just couldn’t seem to wait to drink that frosty margarita at their local bar, or head to their beauty parlor to get those annoying bangs trimmed or those fast-growing roots dyed, or maybe they had to hear their favorite rock ‘n roll band belt out that hit tune — or possibly they were just hankering for a juicy bacon-double cheeseburger with all the fixin’s, fries on the side. 

Whatever the case may be, people just had to leave their homes and venture out despite dire warnings from top health officials from around the world — infectious disease specialists — doctors who know a whole heck of a lot more than the average Joe sitting at home complaining about being stuck inside with nothing to do, nothing to eat, nothing to watch, etc. But apparently they knew better than the experts, it seems, and didn’t feel it necessary to wear masks, or social distance or simply act prudently. Why not, one may ask? Well, some folks, perhaps, felt emboldened by the words and actions of their mayors, their governors, even their president. 

Look where it’s gotten us. As of Sunday, July 5, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that nearly 130,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 2.8 million people have been infected. And there’s been an unmistakable surge in this country in recent weeks and days.

According to data collected by The Washington Post, the U.S. reported 55,220 new COVID cases on Thursday, July 2, surpassing Wednesday’s record of 52,789, which was previously the largest single-day total since the start of the health crisis.

That day, Florida reported more than 10,000 new cases, setting another record and exceeding the July 1 caseload by nearly 4,000. It was the 25th consecutive day the sunshine state set a record high in its “seven-day rolling average,” according to The Washington Post. On Friday, July 3, Florida reported more than 8,900 COVID-19 cases.

And according to NPR, in addition to Florida, which reported 11,443 new cases on Saturday, July 4, and on Sunday, July 5, reported another 9,999 new cases, Texas also reported its biggest daily spike in newly confirmed cases this past weekend. On Saturday, Texas reported a record 8,258 new cases while on Sunday, it reported 3,449 new cases. Meanwhile, California reported 5,410 new COVID cases on Sunday and 3,536 new cases were reported on Sunday in Arizona.

That’s just one sliver of an overall look at how the country is faring. And it’s not good. It’s also not a second wave, according to those in the know, which could hit us in the fall or winter. Rather, it’s been described as a substantial peak in the first wave. 

Then there are reports to consider from news outlets like CNN, of downright disturbing behavior. It seems last week young people in places like Alabama held parties where they invited people infected with COVID-19 and then offered cash payouts to the first person to get infected. That’s according to local officials who said they confirmed the reports. Last week the Alabama Health Department reported about 39,000 confirmed COVID cases and nearly 1,000 deaths.

OK, perhaps some people don’t value their own lives. With behavior like that, one can understand why. But at least they should respect the lives of others who could be endangered by such cavalier actions.

As Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said, there’s “a societal responsibility” for social distancing and wearing a mask and, well, not acting like an idiot (our words, not his).

“If we don’t extinguish the outbreak, sooner or later, even ones that are doing well are going to be vulnerable to the spread,” Dr. Fauci said at last week’s White House coronavirus task force meeting, the first in nearly two months.

Look, Governor Andrew Cuomo has been extremely cautious reopening New York. Slow and steady has been his mantra, and it seems to be working. But you better believe he’s keeping a close eye on the rest of the country, much of which has been experiencing disturbing setbacks, to avoid such setbacks here. 

We have to do our part to avoid any such catastrophes. Masking up, social distancing, washing our hands often and following proper hygiene, staying home as much as possible — it will all help keep us safe. It’s been a difficult few months. We have lost loved ones. We have lost time together. We have lost income. We have lost businesses. We have lost homes. Let’s do our part to ensure we don’t lose anything more to that which we can’t control. 

If you need an example of what not to do, just look at the rest of the country. Dr. Fauci summed it up pretty succinctly on YouTube last week: “I think it’s pretty obvious that we are not going in the right direction,” he said. 

Dire words from a man in the know.

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