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Critical Facts Are Withheld

Last Thursday, the Ohio County Health Department revealed that an animal here had tested positive for rabies. It was a raccoon, found in the Woodsdale neighborhood of Wheeling. People in and near that area now know to be especially cautious about raccoons.

There are now 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ohio County. Public health officials will not say where the patients live, how old they are, whether they are male or female or where they may have traveled, both locally and elsewhere.

Is there anything wrong with this picture?

Throughout West Virginia and, to some extent, in other states, officials refuse to provide any details about COVID-19 cases, except the counties where patients reside. More information could invade the privacy of those with the disease, they insist.

Once more: No one is asking for names or addresses — just information that could save lives in two ways: First, knowing more about patients could help people avoid becoming exposed to the coronavirus. Second, realizing that someone who lives near you has COVID-19 could prompt people showing early-stage symptoms of the disease to seek medical help sooner than they might have otherwise.

By the way, there are treatments to cure humans of rabies. Doctors are still attempting to find one for COVID-19.

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