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Folks, this ain’t no chickenpox party

The fast-paced way of life that has dominated the 21st century was abruptly halted two weeks ago when the coronavirus crossed state lines and began infecting Alabamians.

Since that day, positive cases of COVID-19 slowly began to pop up throughout most of the northern counties of the state. There was the first case in Montgomery County, followed by a handful more, then a dozen more and later nearly 30 additional cases.

Over the last couple of days, however, it’s not unusual for the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) to confirm 60 to 80 new cases every 24 hours. The total as of 5 p.m. Sunday compared to the same time Monday afternoon skyrocketed from 827 cases to 907. That’s 80 new cases in 24 hours.

People are sick folks. There’s no doubt about it. During that same period of time, two more residents of this great state died from the virus. A total of six deaths had also been reported.

Adhere to the state’s social distancing regulations and “non-essential” business closures, so we can Lysol this virus out of our communities, state and, ultimately, our nation. Most people are taking COVID-19 seriously, but there are some that are not heeding to the health professionals’ warnings. A lot of these naysayers believe the numbers are rising simply because testing in finally increasing.

That is true.

Sunday morning, the number of patients tested inched close to 4,800 with ADPH officials reporting that 4,755 tests had been administered statewide. Monday afternoon, however, more than a third of the total tests reported in the first two weeks were performed. As of close of business Monday, 6,531 tests, an increase of 1,776 in two days, were administered. It is safe to say that testing has ramped up.

Sure, increased testing will paint a clearer picture of transmissibility, hospital patient rates, mortality and other factors associated with COVID-19, but the risk will still remain. Percentages will definitely continue to go down and, hopefully sooner than later, the curve will flatten. However, this process can be expedited with the cooperation of everyone.

Just up the road in Lowndes County, Sheriff Christopher West is pleading with his constituents to stop throwing house and yard parties following several incidents over the weekend despite the governor’s orders to not gather in large groups. Not only do these parties put the guests in danger of contracting the deadly virus, but also puts West and his deputies in harm’s way. Simply put, it’s not safe or fair.

There are simple ways to protect yourself and others from coronavirus. Here are the best safety measures suggested by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people that are sick.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
  • Throw used tissues in the trash and immediately wash your hands.
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily.

People are dying and we need to be vigilant. As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Alabama was 19 COVID-19 cases away from a total of 1,000. That’s 981 positive cases out of 7,249 tests. Of those, 13 people have died.

Remember folks, this ain’t no chickenpox party. If you were a child or parent in the 80s and early 90s, you understand. This isn’t a time to socialize and throw parties. Use some common sense.