We are now eight months into the novel coronavirus pandemic and, for better or worse, adjusting our lives around the virus. There is good and bad to be found in that.

From mid-March to today, we have pivoted our work and our recreation, our families and our faith. Most of us have adapted to wearing masks at appropriate times, even though none of us like it. And we have learned to put our trust in limited social circles that allow us to maintain some form of interpersonal relationships.

For the most part, we are carrying on our lives — not as if nothing ever happened but in spite of all that has happened. And so that’s good.

But then there’s the bad. Political and ideological polarization has turned into physical distance. Snap judgment is running high. And rather than focusing on what binds us together culturally, we dwell on what separates us — and we spend hours on computer keyboards clacking away at each other. Ugh.

For Better ...

We have spent considerable time in this space these last eight months taking to task the Moore County Department of Health for a fumbling, ineffective and, at times, contradictory response to the virus.

It took several months to get on track and for its leadership to find purchase, but local health officials appear finally to be on solid ground. They have developed and disseminated a coherent message around “the Three W’s” of wearing a mask, waiting 6 feet back and washing hands.

Communication to the public is vastly improved. Information is now timely and, in some cases, proactive. We know much more about where the virus is hitting, who is most vulnerable and how to protect ourselves. Free COVID testing opportunities for the public are available at least weekly, and sometimes more frequently than that.

Our schools are also working. Private schools, which don’t publicly report cases or how they’re handling safety, appear to be functioning at five days a week. Public schools, which have had 110 total cases since August, also appear to have found a suitable rhythm for students and staff, even though in-person attendance is still just two days a week.

For the most part, people are heeding the advice of health officials. Walk into most any business and you see most people wearing masks. Masks primarily prevent the spread of the virus, and transmission rates are lowest in areas of highest mask compliance. It’s undisputed.

A look at Moore County’s data proves it out. Several weeks ago, we were averaging almost 25 new cases a day. Now, we are half that, and the percentage of positive tests is below 5 percent, after stubbornly being above 10 percent. We are on the right track.

... And Worse

Trouble remains, however. Our nursing homes remain vulnerable. Look no further than Peak Resources Pinelake in Carthage, where 15 residents have now died from the virus, and 119 infections have been recorded.

The corporate management that oversees that facility has yet to utter the first word to Moore County about this. It’s offered no information about what it’s doing. No one has even offered a public apology or condolence.

More needs to be done to protect those in our long-term care facilities. That was one of the Health Department’s first stated priorities eight months ago. Our community has a higher percentage of elderly than most in North Carolina. Senior citizens remain a particularly vulnerable population to COVID. Compliance of the Three W’s will go a long way toward helping keep down the virus’ spread to them.

But the arguing goes on over these mitigation measures, their effectiveness and whether we ought to just return to “normal” and let the virus run its course. That might be the worst thing ongoing.

There’s still too much of “I’m right, you’re wrong.” We don’t need to wait for a vaccine to eradicate that; simple courtesy, dignity and respect will do just fine.

(7) comments

Sally Larson

People who refuse to acknowledge the reality of the virus are sounding more pathetic every day. I'm sure if they got Covid and had to go to the hospital, they would accept all the health care they are given while all the time pretending it doesn't exist while being attached to a ventilator and put into a coma for their survival. Unbelievable!

Elizabeth Leonow

Apparently Kent didn't read the last line of the editorial because he's right and the rest of us are wrong. He also knows nothing about simple courtesy, dignity and respect for others. Those things are not in his lexicon. By the way, when you're driving you're not expected to wear a mask.

Mark Hayes

Kent would have a different view had he had family members on the front lines, any healthcare worker would disagree with his views on the severity of the virus.

Jim Tomashoff

Mark, did you see the recent article quoting a nurse in one of the Dakota's, doesn't matter which one, who told the reporter that she's had several patients who deny they have Covid? They claim Covid doesn't exist. And they continue that claim as they lay dying, of Covid. Perhaps there is one silver lining to those like Kent who continue to see Covid as simply a plot by Kent's stated enemies, liberals, bureaucrats, and people in lab coats. As the pandemic continues there will be disproportionately fewer of them compared to those who are taking precautions, like wearing masks. So perhaps there is a cure for stupid.

Mark Hayes

I don't understand the mindset of one who believes this is like the flu. I also don't believe in pressing ones luck, wearing a mask, taking precautions is not a show of weakness, not doing so is like playing Russian roulette with a loaded weapon.

“Masks primarily prevent the spread of the virus, and transmission rates are lowest in areas of highest mask compliance. It’s undisputed.”. I dispute it. Where is the proof? This same editorial states the problems with Covid in nursing homes. But those have had the most stringent use of masks since the start of the scam-demic. Clearly they do not work. Where I shop few wear masks. I spent the day in New Bern. We took took rural roads. On the drive over and back and while there we saw very few people wearing masks.

Barbara Misiaszek

S.Dakota, N.Dakota -There's your proof with as many as 60% of those tested testing positive.

John Misiaszek

Welcome to the discussion.

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