Editorial

In a space that’s normally bustling, hurried and often loud, there’s silence as people have either been laid off or work from home. Most of the lights are off around town, but it’s the right thing to do.

Parking lots that are normally packed to bursting are now mostly empty, with only a few cars headed to the drive-thru to pick up a morning meal. Grocery stores are packed still, but many of the shelves are bare. The clerks are still at work, filling an essential need. People have to eat and most of us aren’t prepared to completely shut down and not be able to resupply for a couple of weeks.

We’re living in a time of social distance and constant cleaning and disinfecting, a germophobe’s dream. But they’re not likely celebrating either.

We also live in a time where people can grow.

The blinding haze of politics and misinformation has left us where we can’t see each other as human beings, and this isn’t limited to any political viewpoint. Anything can be taken to the extreme. The factor that allows people to get out to the extreme of any viewpoint is an us-versus-them mentality.

There’s no them, there’s only us. We’re all in this together.

Although, together right now means staying distant. Taking no action or taking no responsibility will lead to serious consequences.

Our hospitals have been going above and beyond the call of duty to find the space they may need if this coronavirus hits us like it has other places. This week, New York City’s death toll due to this virus eclipsed the death toll of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and this won’t be a one-day event.

There are many days left ahead and while most of us will be physically unharmed, we still need to take this thing seriously.

Looking at our situation

Floyd County had the dubious distinction to have the second confirmed COVID-19 case in Georgia. While the patient was from Polk County, it sparked an early and real response.

Our city and county officials quickly got together with the heads of our local healthcare providers and enacted policies to slow the spread of the virus. We’ve been a step ahead of the state in enacting social distancing policies from day one.

Whether or not it worked will be something for future analysts to determine. But despite the rise in cases, it seems it has.

Then the state stepped in.

Gov. Brian Kemp did the right thing by extending a statewide policy last week, but the governor, for whatever reason, did it the wrong way. This policy should have been the baseline for the state — not a superseding policy that overrode local ones.

We had a stronger policy locally and now it’s been diluted by the overarching state one, and nobody at the state level seems to want to say why.

We’ve seen a steady, but slow, increase in cases of the virus but, looking at the cases on a graph, there are two jumps in cases. Both jumps can be attributed to two very specific events. A jump of 11 cases, at that time, can be attributed to the virus getting into a Redmond Circle nursing home. A further jump of nearly 50 cases between March 29 and April 1 can be directly attributed to a statewide increase in testing.

There are no statistics or numbers to back up this assertion, but we think what appears to be the slowing or only steady increase in cases locally was because of the early action by our city and county governments.

There’s no question that more people are infected than numbers show, which is all the more reason to take this virus seriously. Each day the Department of Public Health releases figures, but essentially we learn how much the virus is known to have spread several days ago. At this point testing is still inadequate and results still take time to come back.

This is why it’s so important to continue to take the recommended steps to remain distant from one another and continue to clean like the lives of your loved ones count on it — because they may.

Thank you for reading and thank you for supporting local journalism.

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