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Curbing COVID Rampage Vital

We have lost count of the number of times we have pleaded with residents of our area to take COVID-19 seriously — to safeguard the lives of our friends, family members and neighbors.

We have not lost count of the number of people killed by the disease: 565 in West Virginia and 5,658 in Ohio — including 92 people in the Northern Panhandle and East Ohio — as of Friday.

Both of our governors, Jim Justice on Friday in West Virginia and Mike DeWine on Wednesday in Ohio, have ordered strict new measures meant to limit the virus’ spread. Both made it clear business shutdowns such as those ordered last spring may be the next step.

Even now, businesses failing to enforce facial covering rules may be closed. Justice even suggested law enforcement personnel could be used to enforce the mandate.

Both our governors sound as if they are at their wits’ ends. “I don’t know what else to do, I’ve given it every single thing I have,” Justice said last week, just before he issued the new round of orders.

Mike DeWine, in just his second statewide speech of the epidemic, virtually begged people to take steps such as use of facial coverings to protect others against the virus. “My fellow Ohioans, few times in our lives will we ever be able to do something or refrain from doing something that will or can save a life. This is one of those rare times.”

Despite the sharp increase in both coronavirus cases and deaths from the disease, many West Virginians and Ohioans continue to thumb their noses at anyone pleading for minor changes in personal behavior, aimed at safeguarding others. It’s not their problem, they seem to think.

It is true that the vast majority of people are able to get through a bout with COVID-19. Only the elderly and a few others with pre-existing conditions are at great risk.

But do they just not matter to a distressingly large number of West Virginians and Ohioans? Apparently not.

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