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The Numbers Are Staggering Are We Are Losing

               STREET TALK
              By Mickey Howley
              WVMSA Director

The number is pretty staggering. Some 39 million people have filed for unemployment, almost 100,000 dead, and there are 1.7 million confirmed cases of Covid-19. That’s for the United States alone, as we are currently the world leader in cases and deaths in this pandemic.  It is not a competition we should like to win and there’s a good chance Brazil or India will ultimately beat us. But for now, we’re last or first, depending on how you list it. But this is not the Olympic Games, though places that have been able to put down the virus have put in Olympian efforts to do so.

 Who we won’t beat in this deadly game of virus suppression are places that have a geographic natural advantage like New Zealand or South Korea. They have the ability to limit access and they did. But lots of places shut the borders or limited travel. The United States certainly did. But border closing is not enough, what those places like New Zealand and South Korea and Germany (bordering nine other countries) did, in addition to wearing masks and having much more rigorous quarantines, was contact tracing and pro-active testing. 

Meaning not only did they do the passive stuff we’ve done, but they also went after the virus actively, like we have not done. Trace those in contact with a positive individual, ask those people to test, strict quarantine rules (with penalties) and actively monitor with continued testing in the area where there were virus hot spots.

Maybe just as important is their politicians got out of the way, were not in the spotlight, and put the head of their response team, a medical scientist, as the daily voice of what to do and what was going on. In this deadly game, they got a real coach, somebody who knows the intricate plays a virus will do, to call the shots.

They out hustled us, were more disciplined, out played us, and out coached us. 

That’s why they can open their economies now, because they have seen real wins in dropping infection rates. We on the other hand, are seeing all the states opening back up, with  the significant majority having still rising infection rates. Heck, our neighbors in Alabama are having a near record breaking increase in the last two weeks. We’re trying to open again, but we have not won or come even close.

 Seems just plain denial and out right dumb to play the game that way. Keep training like we have and maybe the team will win. I don’t know about you, I don’t have to always be number one, but I darn sure hate being dead last. 

 The hope is Main Street will be back to normal with a finger snap. There has to be some confidence, some trust, some belief that this thing is under control and getting better. It is not.  It also will require individual trust. For some who go about now without masks in confined public spaces, their individual lack of responsibility shows. 

Maybe it is another game they are playing. Maybe they figure it is a roll of the dice, and it is most certainly like shooting craps in that respect and with the same odds. Gambling on yourself is one thing, but gambling with other’s lives is another. This game won’t be easy to win, and we’ve already lost so many.

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