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Stage Comeback Against Disease

Underdogs seem to hold a special place in the hearts of many West Virginians. We love it when, against the odds, they stage comebacks to prevail against powerful foes.

But there is one comeback we didn’t want to witness — COVID-19. The disease seems to be roaring back after a period of weeks during which Mountain State residents had it on the run.

For a few weeks after the coronavirus made its entry into the United States, West Virginia enjoyed the distinction of not recording a single case. Then, after our first diagnosis of COVID-19 was recorded, it took more than three weeks for the total to reach 500 here.

During last week alone, 505 new cases were recorded. The COVID-19 death toll in West Virginia has nearly reached 100.

Just last week, 37 new cases of the disease were found in the six Northern Panhandle counties. That brought our total of people with the disease to 61. The state total of active cases was 826.

It appears many of the new diagnoses are linked to churches — including one in Wheeling — and to people returning from out-of-state vacations. Myrtle Beach, a popular getaway for West Virginians, has become a death trap. As of Monday, Horry County, South Carolina, where the beach resort area is located, had recorded a cumulative total of 4,482 cases of COVID-19 — and 54 deaths.

If you have booked a vacation in Myrtle Beach, you may want to cancel it. If you have traveled out of state for any reason, you should consider taking special precautions in case you picked up the virus while away. You do not want to be the center of a mini-epidemic in your community.

Gov. Jim Justice, clearly alarmed by the upsurge in infections in West Virginia, on Monday issued an order that people in all buildings, public and private (except for their homes) must wear masks. There is no penalty for disobeying.

Our initial success in battling COVID-19 may have made Mountain State residents complacent about the disease. If so, that attitude needs to be replaced by a determination to beat a threat we had on the run for a time.

Now, we are the underdogs — and we need to stage a comeback.

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