President Donald Trump’s notion that if we ignore the coronavirus it will go away is akin to believing that if we stop monitoring the weather there will be no tornadoes.
The hard truth is, the virus is here, it’s serious, and it’s spreading in our region. Blue Earth County’s confirmed cases have jumped in the past week — a rise that pretty much matches the timeline of the partial reopening of taverns, restaurants and retail. Some Mankato businesses that had reopened shut back down after employees tested positive.
The city of Mankato, which a couple of weeks ago set aside the notion of requiring face masks in public places, is about to consider a 60-day ordinance to do just that. But that would be weeks away from taking effect, and the virus is spreading now.
So we urge you: Wear a mask. Wear a mask not with the notion that it’s going to protect you from contracting COVID-19, but with the notion that it will keep you from spreading it to others if you are asymptomatic. Wear it to protect the community. Wear it to keep others safe.
Take seriously the advice of Dr. Anthony Fauci, uttered Tuesday in his testimony to a House committee: “Plan A, don’t go in a crowd. Plan B, if you do, wear a mask.”
The usefulness of masks in muting the spread is supported by the testing results on 15,000 Minnesotans who participated in mass protests over the death of George Floyd, protests in which the vast majority wore masks. State health officials said Monday that just 2% of tests performed at four Twin Cities locations were positive.
The rapid summertime ramp-up of the virus in states that either resisted shutting down or that opened back up quickly is alarming. The infection rate in Texas has doubled since late May. An alarming 20% of tests in Arizona are now coming back positive. Florida — suspected in some quarters of fudging its numbers — is not only seeing confirmed cases rise but ICU admissions as well. Louisiana and Oregon rolled back their reopenings as cases resumed their climb.
And Iowa is seeing an spike of cases in college towns — a circumstance that should be of note in this community, with Minnesota State, Bethany Lutheran College and South Central College. Fauci’s testimony Tuesday noted that the infection is taking hold in young adults, who may be less affected themselves by the virus but may also be more likely to spread it.
It is not too late to act as individuals to stem the virus. Please, wear a mask.