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COVID-19: Do your part to get pandemic under control

Gov. Jim Justice understands enough that we can speculate he is more than just worried about the resurgence of COVID-19 in West Virginia.

Justice has every reason to be concerned deeply about the coronavirus. Take a look at the state website providing statistics on the epidemic (dhhr.wv.gov/COVID-19). A graphic showing how many new cases of the disease have been diagnosed each day shows a fairly stable, low progression during most of the outbreak. From mid-March through late June, the chart can be described as a series of low peaks and valleys.

On July 3, COVID-19 came screaming back with a vengeance. The daily cases chart suddenly went flying to a Mount Everest height.

As of Monday, there were 1,338 active cases of the disease. It had killed 97 West Virginians.

That spurred the governor to order new restrictions. For one thing, he canceled all fairs and festivals. He also renewed a ban on gatherings of more than 25 people at a time (except for churches).

Justice took targeted action, too, against the COVID-19 hot spot in our state — Morgantown. He ordered that all bars in Monongalia County be shut down.

Of the 1,338 active coronavirus cases Monday, 340 were in that county. Clearly, the governor was not out of line in singling the Morgantown area out for more restrictive action.

Counties with major population centers — Monongalia, Kanawha, Berkeley, Wood and Cabell — account for more than half the active cases. At the first sign of an out-of-control outbreak in any of the latter four, Justice should include them in the bar closures.

Justice has reason to be frightened. So do the rest of us in West Virginia. What seemed just a few weeks ago to have been a challenge being brought under control shows signs of becoming a monster.

We — all of us, as individuals — know what to do about it. Will we?

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