Guest Editorial

Dear Fellow Weakley County Residents:
As a community, a nation, and a world we are facing an outbreak of COVID-19 virus. This pandemic is severely disrupting our way of life. Our fear is great. If we are not afraid, we should be, at least to the point of taking action.
What actions do we take to fight this virus? COVID-19 is highly contagious and is passed to others when a person who is infected coughs or sneezes the virus into the air and then it is breathed in by others. It can also be passed by touching a surface that an infected person has also touched and left the virus there. The virus evidently can stay alive on surfaces for up to three days. We therefore need to wash our hands thoroughly multiple times a day. When you sneeze or cough do so into the inner side of your bent elbow. Avoid gathering with other people. The President set a limit of ten or more persons, but we should not gather at all unless necessary. When we do gather, we need to practice “social distancing.” This means that we should stay 6 feet away from each other. The infection is passed from one person to perhaps several more, and then each of those persons to perhaps several more, and on and on. This is what is known as exponential growth and is the reason the number of infected persons can rise so quickly when the virus takes hold in the community. This is what we must prevent by practicing the measures I just mentioned. Evidently, many of the persons who are infected can pass along the disease without feeling terribly ill and without knowing that they are infected. However, many people who catch the virus will be gravely ill and even die. We have no natural immunity to the virus and no known effective treatments.
If you become ill, with a fever and cough, you must isolate yourself and contact your health practitioner by phone. If you are at the greatest risk, such as being elderly or having chronic medical conditions or being immunosuppressed, you, in particular, must stay in and limit your visitors, even if you are not experiencing any symptoms of the virus. If you have relatives or friends who are in this group of high risk, you should visit them only as absolutely needed. To be clear, the safest thing for all of us to do right now is to stay at home whenever possible.
We must each and everyone take the responsibility to protect ourselves, our families, and fellow Weakley County residents from this pandemic by stopping or slowing its spread through the measures I have mentioned here.
I want to personally thank the churches and other organizations that have called off their gatherings. You are doing the right thing.
As for my family, we are trying hard to practice what I am preaching. It is a privilege to call myself a Weakley Countian and to have you as my neighbors. May God bless you all. With His help and each of us acting responsibly, we will beat this.
Michael W. Hinds, M.D.

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