EDITORIAL: Heed warning of coming covid train

Schenectady County Public Health Services RN Maria Miceli, of Albany, hands back a test swab stick at SUNY Schenectady last week.
Schenectady County Public Health Services RN Maria Miceli, of Albany, hands back a test swab stick at SUNY Schenectady last week.

Remember those old cowboy movies where someone would put their ear on the train track and announce a train was coming, even though no one could see it yet?

They could feel the rumblings of something big and fast bearing down.

With a potential new wave of coronavirus in our future, we don’t need to see the train in order to heed the rumblings.

President Trump’s contracting of the virus seems all but inevitable, given his dismissal of basic safety protocols such as wearing masks and social distancing.

And it’s no surprise that so many people who attended a recent White House event wound up sick. Gathering in very close proximity, holding conversations, hugging, shaking hands, not wearings masks, and being among vulnerable populations like the elderly, is exactly the way to infect a lot of people fast.

But that was just a flagrant reminder of the bad things that can happen when we ignore what we know how to do.

There are other rumblings to which we also need to pay attention.

For instance, what’s happening in the New York City area.

For the past several months, New York has been a model of how to handle the coronavirus, with obvious exceptions.

But as the state has opened up schools and allowed in-person dining, and as people have relaxed their own safety practices, we’re seeing a disturbing up-tick in the virus.

The mayor of New York City and the governor are now negotiating closing schools and non-essential businesses in a number of ZIP codes dubbed hotspots.

Those same problems could spread to our communities if we ignore them.

Eight months into this outbreak, we should be seeing improvement nationwide.

But from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3, twenty-one states (including New York) saw an increase in cases, while only three saw declines. The rest were steady.

The average number of daily new cases in the country that week was 46,500, the most since mid-August. On Friday, the country saw over 54,500 cases.

Hospitalizations are up for the first time since July, and the number of deaths is declining, but at a slower rate.

The reality of healthcare facilities being overwhelmed is already happening in places like Wisconsin and New Mexico.

And we haven’t even seen the impact of flu season.

We’re also learning more about the long-term effects of covid, emphasizing the need for people to do their best to avoid getting and spreading it.

The next covid train is around the bend. We’re starting to hear the rumblings.

Unless we take steps to derail it, it will once again run over our health system, our economy and one another.

Categories: Editorial, Opinion

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