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We must have the same commitment to saving lives as the virus has in wrecking them

“The virus doesn’t care.”

In just four words, Gov. Tate Reeves perfectly summed up the past 105 days, otherwise known as the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississippi.

In a social media post last Wednesday, Reeves again urged residents in Mississippi to continue to take the virus outbreak seriously at a time when there is a growing lack of want to do so.

“I’m concerned that people are losing interest in the effort to keep each other safe,” Reeves wrote last Wednesday. “We are all tired and ready to be done, but the virus doesn’t care. Please be on your guard.”

In the past 105 days, we have seen our passionate concern for the virus wain into a laissez-faire approach to our daily lives.

When the pandemic started, we all rushed to make sure we were well stocked with hand sanitizer and bleach and worked to keep our distance from others to help flatten the curve; “we are in this together,” we used to say. Today, that has been replaced with a society that is divided among those who wear masks when in public places and those who do not care to do so.

“The virus doesn’t care.”

In just 87 days, Warren County has moved from zero cases to now more than 3oo and growing. In the past seven days alone, we have seen an increase of 11 cases per day, the highest rate of growth since the start of the pandemic. And sadly, 14 people have lost their lives to this virus.

In that time too, we have seen our local economy shuttered, jobs lost and in some cases livelihoods destroyed. Thankfully, the economy has been restarted, but that too has come with risks — risks that we must do a better job in managing.

And what has become so disappointing is that the things that we should all agree on have now become points of contention and division.

We know that wearing a mask when in public — around other people — is not just better for the individual but for those they are around. It is the neighborly — heck, Southern — thing to do.

We know that doing our best to keep our distance from one another at this time keeps the virus from spreading so quickly and thus saving lives. As Southerners who love to shake hands, hug, pat each other on the back, laugh and tell tall stories, this one is understandably tough, but needed.

And we know that more testing is needed so we can better understand the scale of the virus within our communities and better track and trace the path the virus has taken. It is important.

The virus does not care what your opinion is. It is single-minded and driven. We must match that drive in our efforts to stop it.

If we do not take the steps needed to curb the spread of this virus — the little things, such as wearing a mask in public — then the hit to our economy would have been squandered. If we do not do the little things now, then the final years of high school and the final athletic seasons for so many teenagers would have been canceled for nothing.

As Gov. Reeves said, “the virus doesn’t care,” and it is growing increasingly clear that neither do we.

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