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Time to redouble our efforts to fight COVID-19

Just when we thought we were getting out of the woods on the COVID-19 pandemic, the numbers seem to be surging, not only nationwide but also worldwide and locally.

Some European nations recently entered another lockdown phase in an effort to stanch the spread of the virus.

Here in Natchez and Adams County, we also are seeing a spike in numbers and quarantines with some schools reporting possible exposures and quarantining many students.

We are coming off of weeks of football games, Halloween and other events and are heading into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

Perhaps we have gotten lax in our behaviors and are not maintaining proper social distance, mask-wearing and hand washing.

Maybe the fact that we were successfully holding the spread of the virus in check with those protocols lulled us into a false sense of security and caused us to let our guards down.

Perhaps, none of that is the case and the cooler temperatures have allowed the virus to be spread more easily.

Regardless, as we head into the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, lets take the warnings of the new spikes seriously and commit to doing what we know works to help keep the virus in check.

Like it or not, socially distancing, hand-washing and mask-wearing are the most effective means we have to curtail the spread of COVID-19 until we have a vaccine, which could still be months, if not years, away.

That does not mean we have to lock ourselves in seclusion, it just means we need to be conscious of our surroundings and the potential we have to spread the virus, even if we do not have any symptoms or signs of infection.

We wear the masks to protect others from us not to protect ourselves from others.

As has been noted for months, COVID-19 is so infectious because someone can be infected with and spreading the virus for up to two weeks before ever exhibiting any symptoms such as a fever or cough and can potentially spread the virus without even know we have it to hundreds of other people, many of whom my be more susceptible to the effects of the virus than ourselves.

Therefore, wearing a mask when we cannot maintain a proper social distance is the least we can do to protect those around us, the people we come into contact with every day.

And, yes, I know a whole contingent of people get angry at the suggestion they wear a mask. Those people, I believe, do not realize the potential they have of spreading the virus to others.

Wearing a mask when we cannot properly socially distance in order to save some of our fellow citizens’ lives is the least we can do, and the government should not have to force us to do it.

Therefore, we should have no trouble wearing a mask when unable to properly social distance, especially in the face of the rising numbers.

It is the proper thing to do.

Scott Hawkins is editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at scott.hawkins@natchezdemocrat.com or 601-445-3540.

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