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OUR VIEW: COVID is surging in Troup County

As the COVID-19 debate continues on social media, on message boards and around water coolers, the actual facts and narrative of the pandemic continues to be experienced in hospital beds all around the country. That includes here in LaGrange.

We’ve written about the pandemic too many times to count in this space over the 18 months or so, but it’s been a while since we took a more stern tone to discuss the current situation. However, looking at the numbers, it’s obvious that one is needed now.

Regardless of how you feel about masks, COVID-19 in general or the politics you might believe are involved, the truth is that the numbers tell you the real story. Troup County is in the midst of a surge right now.

In the last 2 weeks, Troup County has had 680 cases of COVID-19. That’s about as bad as it’s been during any portion of this pandemic.

Yet, if you go in a grocery store right now or a restaurant, it appears most people aren’t wearing masks. Considering that only 27% of Troup County residents are fully vaccinated, that means a lot of people are walking around without taking any precaution against the virus.

We’re not here to start a debate over masks and their effectiveness, nor do we expect to change anyone’s mind. Are masks 100% effective? No. No one ever said that they were.

But putting a piece of cloth over your face is a pretty small ask to ensure you don’t get another community member deathly sick.

Rather than debating masks, we’re here begging you to take some precaution. People younger in age are getting sick as the Delta variant goes around. That’s been proven and it shows in the data. Our local hospital officials have discussed that worry as well.

Hospitals are filling up, which effects more than just your belief about COVID-19. It impacts people who have other emergencies, unrelated to the virus. It may impact you, if you have some sort of emergency too.

There are a lot of opinions out there. If you want to find one that backs up your beliefs, it’s easy to do. Search Twitter for two minutes and you’ll find someone ranting about the ineffectiveness of masks or something else related to the validity of the virus. But posting screenshots proves nothing other than that you know how to use the internet.

It’s fascinating to us that people would rather believe a random Twitter account from a person they don’t even know truly exists over their own physician or our local health experts. Or over the nation’s top disease experts.

And don’t give us the “everything is COVID” argument. Just about everyone in our office has been sick over the last year, and almost every time our COVID-19 test came back negative. Yes, sinus infections and the flu still exist, as do colds.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there, but the truth is that COVID-19 is nearing its peak locally (if it’s not already there) and people are taking less precautions than ever. That’s unfortunate and it makes it unlikely that this will be a short-lived surge.

It feels like the only time people change their mind is when someone in their family gets a really serious case of COVID-19.

That’s a sad and unfortunate reality.

If the surge remains as it is, it’s likely more people will die in Troup County, on top of the 208 who have already lost their lives due to COVID-19.

And from what we’re seeing, it’s unlikely to end any time soon.