They tried to do it on June 20th and it fizzled, so the anti-mask bunch are now calling this Tuesday, September 15th, No Mask Day--urging those who agree with them to refuse to wear a facial covering. Some are calling it a protest against what they perceive as a political ploy related to the November election; others are hollering that it's their "Constitutional right" not to wear a mask (not sure which amendment that's supposed to be); others have taken the attitude that we're all going to die eventually and hastening the passing of a few more grandmas and grandpas is no big deal.
Obviously, we urge you not to participate in this sham. Wearing a facial covering over your mouth and nose may protect you (depending on the one you choose) but it also helps to prevent you unknowingly spreading the coronavirus. Contrary to what some have suggested (on Facebook, no less, the home of massive misinformation), you can be contagious before you know you have the virus. It has an incubation period that can be from two days to two weeks, and you can be infected before you show any symptoms.
From the beginning of this pandemic, we have been consistent in reporting that the steps medical experts and scientists have been urging are based on sound evidence--not politics. We suggested editorially in our earliest reports on the virus that like other pandemics, it will cease to be a problem over time. We told our readers that the Flu Pandemic of 1918 tapered off and disappeared over the next year--without a vaccine and without any breakthrough medical discoveries. Antibiotics and antiviral drugs didn't exist, and the first flu vaccine didn't appear until the 1940s.
Steps that were taken to slow the spread of the flu then included some of the same ones that were undertaken with this pandemic--halting some business operations like theaters, restricting activities that involved large gatherings, urging people to wear facial coverings. Evidence from history shows that those steps helped where taken to reduce both the number of cases and the death toll from the flu. The good news, we are happy to report, is that they are working once again.
Like most, we are hoping for a vaccine against the coronavirus--even though we know that many (it's estimated about one-third of the population) won't take it. [Less than half of all Americans get a flu shot every year, despite urging by most doctors and evidence that it not only helps protect those who get the shot from the flu but results in less severe cases and fewer deaths among those who do compared to those who do not.] With or without a vaccine, we believe that COVID-19 will not last for years to come. The virus won't disappear, but the number of cases will decline and it will cease to be a pandemic. We can't say when, but we have also said that we expect the Fall of 2021 to be much more like the Fall of 2019 than the Fall of 2020.
For those who would argue, yes, some of what you just read is just our opinion--but it's opinion based on sound evidence, and we feel it is our responsibility to pass that information along, because frankly, we expect that the worst of this pandemic hasn't yet happened, and we need to have some hope for the future to handle what we expect may be a rough time ahead in the next few months.
Although many have spoken loud and long against the restrictions that North Carolina has undergone, they ARE working! The 3Ws (3Ms for Hispanics) are helping to reduce the number of new cases and deaths, and if the pandemic does indeed become worse over the next 4-5 months, they will become even more important.
For proof that it's working, one need only compare what is happening in North Carolina with what has happened in neighboring Southern states.
According to statista.com, which keeps up with such things, as of September 14th, the deaths per 100,000 in North Carolina is 29. The state had recorded 3,060 deaths associated with the disease. Our population is estimated at about 10.5 million people.
South Carolina, whose population is a bit less than half that of North Carolina, had reported 2,922 confirmed deaths from the disease and another 155 probably linked to it. If North Carolina's death rate from COVID-19 had been the same as South Carolina's, we would have over twice as many deaths as we have.
North Carolina's death rate related to the coronavirus is the 20th lowest in the nation. Georgia, like South Carolina, has experienced 60 deaths per 100,000 according to statista.com. Florida has had 59 deaths per 100,000.
The states who have had the most deaths per 100,000 population are New Jersey (180), New York (170), Massachusetts (134), Connecticut (126), Louisiana (113) and Rhode ISland (101). North Carolina's death rate is only slightly more than South Dakota (21) and North Dakota (22). Those states had the fewest restrictions related to trying to stop the spread of the disease, and only recently have they had big increases in new cases.
South Dakota, with an estimated population of just under a million people, had 1,529 new cases reported in the last seven days (as of Monday Sept. 14th) according to the CDC. North Carolina had 8,035. Had our rate of new cases been the same as South Dakota's, we would have had over 15,000 new cases.
North Dakota, population less than 800,000, reported 2,030 new cases. Had our rate of new cases been the same, we'd have had over 20,000 new cases.
South Carolina reported 6.912 new cases in the last week. Georgia had 11,195; Florida, 17,319; Tennessee, which has a population of just under seven million, had 7,698--almost as many as North Carolina.
Some of those states who have had the highest death rates were among the first to impose serious restrictions, and as a result, their number of new cases has declined significantly. New York, population over 20 million, had 3,071 new cases. New Jersey, population about nine million, had 2,576 new cases. Massachusetts, populaton about seven million, had 2,177. Connecticut, population about 3.6 million, had only 961. Louisiana, population a little less than five million, did not do as well; they had 4,626 new cases.
Nationwide, while the number of new cases and the death toll from the disease continues to grow, it is growing at a slower pace than it was a month ago. The last three weeks have seen both the daily reports of new cases and the number of new deaths shrink in many states.
So whether for political reasons for just plain bullheadedness, if you are participating in this sorry excuse for a protest, we truly hope that you do NOT get COVID-19...and more important, that you do not spread it to others.
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