I read your editorial posted on Friday, July 11 regarding Governor Tate Reeves decision to add Sunflower County to the list of counties with additional public health restrictions.
You are correct in your assessment that right now our health care facilities are not stressed to the point that they cannot handle inbound cases of COVID-19.
You correctly point out that the daily statistics provided by the MSDH are currently lagging behind the actual numbers due to the reporting process utilized by the labs conducting the tests.
Hospitalizations have increased recently but the health care facilities have done an outstanding job of managing the situation.
As of Friday morning, July 10 the data provided by the health care providers in Sunflower County showed a positivity rate of 15% of all tests conducted to include positive and negative results.
If you break it down by the two sources, SSCH and NSMC, the data becomes a little more alarming. NSMC is reflecting a positivity rate of 11% while SSCH is reflecting a positivity rate of 24%.
The restrictions imposed by the Governor are certainly inconvenient and annoying for a lot of people.
However, the Governor has been pleading with citizens to follow the CDC guidelines for masking, social distancing, limiting crowds at events and good personal hygiene.
Unfortunately too many people have ignored these guidelines and that is why we find ourselves in the position that we are in today.
Masks do cut down on the probability of transmission; if everyone wears them the probability of transmission is reduced to around 3%.
If an infected person does not wear a mask and interacts with a non-infected person wearing a mask the probability of transmission is 70%.
Conversely, if the infected person is wearing a mask and the non-infected person is not wearing a mask the probability of transmission is 30%.
It is a no-brainer, if everyone wears a mask, we will reduce the spread, the positivity rates will drop and we can prevent a lot of misery in the community.
It is not the ultimate answer to the problem.
That will come with an effective vaccine in the future. Until then we all need to do our part in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 and not overwhelm our fragile health care system in Sunflower County. So far we have been fortunate, let’s not push our luck.