As of Sunday, Mississippi had more than 140,000 positive cases and 3,767 COVID-19 deaths. That doesn’t sound like much, considering the state’s population of nearly 3 million; however, current positive cases have soared over the last two weeks.
For the weeks of Oct. 26 through Nov. 8, both Carroll and Montgomery were in the state’s top 12 counties for highest incident rates. The spike in numbers led to Winona Christian School canceling classes until after Thanksgiving as a precaution, six employees and 47 students quarantined in the Winona-Montgomery Consolidated School District, 24 students and one teacher quarantined in the Carroll County School District, the Carroll County Circuit Clerk’s office in Vaiden being placed in quarantine due to exposure, and a local church dealing with a large outbreak.
COVID-19 is highly contagious. It spreads silently and quickly, despite even the best efforts to control the spread. With up to a 10 day incubation period and some of those infected not showing any symptoms, the virus has proven difficult to control.
Currently, both Montgomery and Carroll counties are under a governor-mandated mask order. Even after all these months of fighting the pandemic, the only ways to combat the spread is to wear a mask while in a public place and social distancing, which means limiting contact with friends and family unless necessary. Even wearing a mask and social distancing isn’t 100 percent, but it is currently the only means of prevention we have. So stay diligent in wearing your mask and keeping your distance.
With the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays coming up, I realize it will be difficult to keep your distance from family and friends, but sometimes it is for their and your best interest.
Just like with Easter, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and Halloween, things will have to be a little different until the pandemic is under control.
I know I’d rather sacrifice holiday festivities for one year to have many more years to come with my family and friends.
One of my dearest friends was diagnosed with COVID-19 recently, along with most of her immediate family. Because she is considered vulnerable due to other health issues, she has been vigilant in wearing a mask, disinfecting, and social distancing. Her efforts did not prevent her from becoming infected and becoming deathly ill.
After a week of high fever, my friend was airlifted from Charleston to the Regional Medical Center in Memphis with bilateral pneumonia. She and all of us who love her were petrified. However, with God’s blessings and more prayer than imaginable, she was discharged from the hospital Tuesday and is recovering at home.
This week, during one of our many telephone calls, my friend admitted that her biggest fear over these past long months was being admitted into the hospital for COVID. Her fear was fueled by many people she knew – of all ages, backgrounds, and health history – being admitted into the hospital and not coming home.
That is what is most frightening about this virus. There is no rhyme or reason with the type of effect it has on and individual. When I was diagnosed in July, I experienced sinus symptoms. I had very little fever, no aches and pains, no coughing, and no shortness of breath. I even produced The Winona Times and The Conservative from my home – oh, the wonders of technology.
Since recovering from the virus, I’ve experienced several serious side effects and have had a number of tests performed to make sure it is nothing more than post-virus syndrome. The fatigue is constant and nearly debilitating sometimes. My joints ache all the time, and I am now experiencing shortness of breath when exerted. I had none of these symptoms when I actually had the virus.
The Washington Post examined what they referred to as “long-haul COVID-19 patients,” those who recovered from the virus but are still experiencing serious symptoms like shortness of breath, fatigue, chills, pain, fever, cognitive problems, difficulty regulating blood pressure and heart rate, and so on.
According to the article, a percentage of patients who have been infected and recovered from viral infections experience long-term effects.
“We see this in patients with an array of unrelated pathogens: 90 percent of those with Ebola; 11 percent of those with Ross River virus, Q fever or Epstein-Barr virus; and 40 percent of those with severe acute respiratory syndrome (which, like covid-19, is caused by a coronavirus).”
COVID-19 is proving to be no different.
The one positive to having had the virus already, the Center for Disease Control is reporting it is rare to be re-infected. That is a relief to me and many people who experienced serious effects from the virus but recovered.
This virus is very real. It can be fatal, and it can have long-term effects on an individual.
However, eventually, our lives will return to normal – or as close to normal as possible. Vaccines are currently in the test phases, and sadly, with so many Americans contacting the virus, herd immunity will reduce infections over time.
With Thanksgiving just one week away, we have so much for which to be thankful. If this year has taught us anything, we need to realize that every single day is a blessing from God.
My late mother’s favorite scripture was Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”
This, too, my friends, is another season, and we must have remember to trust God for its purpose.
Amanda Sexton-Ferguson is publisher of The Winona times and The Conservative, sister papers of The Star-Herald.