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Keep COVID-19 Numbers Down

What we don’t know about COVID-19 outweighs our certainties about the disease, in many respects. For example, it is not clear why populations in some areas escape widespread infections even though they seem to behave much like those where the coronavirus has taken terrible tolls.

In Belmont, Monroe and Harrison counties, the epidemic appears to be reasonably under control. In Jefferson County, it is picking up steam.

As of Thursday, Belmont, Monroe and Harrison counties reported 116 active cases of COVID-19, up just nine from a week before. But in Jefferson County, the active-case total Thursday was 78 — dramatically higher than the 58 patients a week before.

On Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine expanded his order on use of face masks. For several days, it had been in effect for just 16 counties.

For weeks, DeWine had avoided making use of masks in public mandatory. On Wednesday, he explained that extending his order to the entire state was based in part on the mandate’s success in curbing the disease’s spread in 16 counties.

Under the order, most people are required to don masks when out in public or in places where social distancing is impossible. Exemptions are for those under 10 years old and others with medical conditions that make masks inadvisable.

As we in our area have seen, some people use face masks when in public — but many do not.

It is basic common sense to realize that if you have COVID-19, perhaps without showing any symptoms, wearing a mask reduces at least somewhat the potential for you to infect others.

Does that matter for people in an area where the virus seems to be only a minimal threat? Yes.

Here in East Ohio, remember Jefferson County escaped widespread infections for several weeks. Now, COVID-19 seems to be on the rampage there.

Until it is brought under control everywhere, the threat of an explosion in cases remains very real.

We encourage everyone to comply with DeWine’s mask order, then. COVID-19 already has killed 46 East Ohioans. Let us do what we can to keep the number from increasing.

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