The Mississippi State Department of Health says COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the state through gatherings of more than a few people who do not strictly observe safety precautions, like wearing a mask and social distancing.
“When a group is together for hours rather than minutes, the chances of disease transmission rise even higher,” MSDH noted in a statement Tuesday. “Distance is a powerful tool against COVID-19, but — like face coverings and handwashing — it works only if we use it consistently.”
This is why Gov. Tate Reeves and local governing bodies in Tallahatchie County and our cities and towns have adopted strict rules about crowds.
Under these regulations, people are not to gather in groups larger than 10 indoors nor larger than 20 outdoors. Churches and schools are exempt from those limitations, but common-sense practices should be followed even in those venues.
On July 1, the MSDH reported a total of 104 positive cases of COVID-19 and three deaths related to the virus in Tallahatchie County. By July 28, the Health Department’s report noted that the number of confirmed local cases had risen to 363, and there were now nine novel coronavirus deaths.
Both the East and West Tallahatchie school districts plan to start the fall with online-only classes. High school football will kick off two weeks later than planned. College athletics are being pushed back, too. The NFL has canceled its entire preseason. Many other ventures have been put on hold while we try to navigate these still troubled waters.
Still, some people continue to gather in large groups — all in the name of having a good time. That is not smart, to say the least, and is partly why the COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths keep climbing in this state and county.
In those instances, responsible people are needed to step up and become voices of reason, encouraging naysayers and loose cannons to show some personal restraint — if not for themselves, then for their family, friends and others whom they contact.
This virus is not going to go the way of the dinosaur anytime soon, so let’s not feed it.