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Numbers: COVID-19 recovery will require vigilance

Gov. Jim Justice and his public health advisers may have spent much of the three-day weekend with their fingers crossed. West Virginians were being tested in our move to recover from the COVID-19 epidemic.

Human beings are creatures of habit. For many of us, Memorial Day weekend is the signal to begin enjoying summer. It also is a time when we visit family members, have friends over for cook-outs and engage in any number of behaviors that are conducive to spreading highly communicable diseases.

Couple that with a new stage in easing restrictions on businesses — restaurants are now permitted to serve customers inside — and the potential hazard of the long weekend was clear.

It will not be a surprise if, within a few days, public health statisticians record a spike in confirmed cases of COVID-19. The question is how serious the surge will be, and what to do about it.

West Virginia entered the holiday weekend in extraordinarily better shape than many other states. Nearly two-thirds of those who had contracted the disease during the past few months had recovered from it.

We should know in a week or two whether that good fortune continues.

Unless the numbers are dramatically negative, Justice and public health officials should not reverse their strategy of getting the economy back in gear — certainly not statewide. It may be that some areas demonstrate a need to tighten the reins a bit, but that should not be permitted to set the entire state back.

Mountain State residents need to recover both physically and financially from the coronavirus. We knew there would be bumps in that road. We cannot afford to let them throw us back into the ditch.

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