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Our View: If COVID fatigue has set in, we need to catch a second wind | COMMENTARY

It appears Carroll County has become infected just like the rest of the country. Not with the coronavirus, per se, though the numbers here, there and everywhere are rising. We are, apparently, afflicted with COVID fatigue.

Health Officer Ed Singer noted Thursday that some of the same issues fueling a nationwide increase in COVID-19 cases are causing positive tests to trend up in Carroll County, including weariness after seven months of the pandemic.

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“Folks are getting tired of some of the things that we have to do to keep our community safe,” Singer said during the weekly Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Nationally, that’s part of why we are seeing record numbers of cases on an almost daily basis. Locally, that’s part of why 90 new community cases last week had been reported through Friday, just the third time Carroll has had that many. By the time all the cases through Saturday are counted, that number could top 100 and potentially threaten the high-water mark of 110 set the week beginning July 26.

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To those who who dismiss the more than 230,000 deaths across the nation (and 151 in Carroll) attributed to the virus as products of fudged governmental numbers or rationalize that only a small percentage of people actually die, we condemn that astonishing lack of compassion for the deceased and their families as well as for those who will be dealing with post-COVID complications for weeks, months or, in the cases of those with scarred lungs, myocarditis or other serious side effects, the rest of their lives.

Singer speculated that the 18-29 age group has had an effect on the recent increase, even though their numbers aren’t going up right now. Cases among that age group spiked in August and September and transmission to older family members may be responsible for the surprise October surge.

“You see a spike in cases in the younger population and then there’s a subsequent spike in cases that seems to happen with the older population," Singer told the commissioners. “Last week, cases were way down in younger age groups, but up in older age groups. What we think’s happening from a public health perspective is that younger people are going out in the community, whether it’s going out to bars or going to large gatherings of friends ... and getting COVID. They’re coming back and bringing it to their parents or grandparents."

On Thursday, Singer said he did not have evidence the hybrid return to in-person learning by Carroll County Public Schools was playing a role, although he noted schools have been operationally impacted by the quarantining of students and teachers with multiple symptoms.

“We’re a week-and-a-half into this and so far we have not had any outbreaks, any transmission in the schools,” he said. “But we will, eventually.”

Indeed we will. Which underscores — heading into the cold-weather months, when people will be inside more and more at risk— how important it is that we practice the simple measures we’ve heard about time and again. Singer illustrated that by pointing the commissioners to studies showing the efficacy of wearing masks.

“The science is showing this is a very important step that we can take in limiting the spread of the disease,” Singer said. “I know that not everybody likes it. I don’t like wearing a mask. It’s a little bit uncomfortable. But I think it’s something we’re going to have to get used to for a period of time.”

Probably a long period. Which is why we need to catch a collective second wind, get over whatever COVID fatigue we may be facing and do what needs to be done to keep schools and businesses open and the community safe.

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