Editor’s corner: Spikes here still small compared to neighbor

Warren County residents have every right to question some of the edicts put forth by Gov. Tom Wolf during the COVID-19 pandemic that has reached its eighth month. For all intents and purposes — especially in our region — the lockdowns in the beginning during the great uncertainty regarding the virus were probably unnecessary and far too restrictive.

But Wolf has cooled in making pronouncements since the spring. Neighboring New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, however, cannot seem to stay away from the spotlight.

On Veterans Day — when we celebrate those who gave us our so many of our freedoms — Cuomo tried to take away some of those Constitutional guarantees. He told New Yorkers they will be limited to private and family gatherings around the holidays of 10.

Also, starting on Friday, restaurants and bars in the Empire State were to close their doors at 10 p.m. Take-out, however, would still be allowed.

Chautauqua County’s recent numbers show that COVID-19 is not slowly going away. You could say the same for our county. However, there continues to be a tremendous difference in the total number of infections.

In October alone, our neighbor in New York had 404 total cases. Here — through this week — there has been 96 since March.

Alarmingly — for the first time — Warren County is now averaging more than one case a day this month with 25 announced for November. “It is quite clear that COVID-19 cases are occurring throughout our communities,” Wolf said earlier. “We need all Pennsylvanians to take a stand and answer the call to protect one another.”

Where is the spread the greatest in Warren County? We’re not sure. With no local Health Department guidance, there is a lack of information — other than ZIP codes in where infections happen.

Chautauqua County, while not open about all locations, has been targeting some places that many would think are safe havens. In Dunkirk, N.Y., popular social clubs have led to 22 cases with another 12 being reported at another organization in Fredonia.

One member of these clubs told me he could not believe how quickly COVID-19 could spread. Throughout this ordeal, he never doubted the virus.

Now, in quarantine after one of these spikes, he believes even more regarding how quickly this can spread — even with the use of masks.

This week, the U.S. learned of a potential vaccine. That is a step to closer to normalcy.

John D’Agostino is the regional editor of the Times Observer, The Post-Journal and OBSERVER in Dunkirk, N.Y. Send comments to jdagostino@observertoday.com or call (716) 487-1111, ext. 253.


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