States must be honest about coronavirus

Let us hope that if COVID-19 comes to West Virginia or Ohio — and it probably will — our state governments are transparent. To date, public health officials in both our states have not been as informative as in some others.

Neither state has confirmed an active case of COVID-19, but a number of people are being watched.

As of Friday, COVID-19 tests for four West Virginians had been sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A third test already has come back negative. State officials have not revealed where those tested reside.

That is true for Ohio, too, where on Friday two people were listed as “under investigation” and another 255 were “under health supervision.”

Of course, there is an enormous difference between monitoring people who may — or may not — have been infected by the virus and revealing where COVID-19 patients live. Again, it is to be hoped that if the virus actually is found in our states, more specific geographic information will be provided.

Knowing how near to us the disease has come allows members of the public to step up our precautions against contracting it. That is simple common sense.

Too often, however, public health officials refuse to disclose even rough geographic information about serious health hazards. They claim that is to protect patients’ identities — but telling us where a disease has struck without disclosing patients’ names or

Govs. Jim Justice of West Virginia and Mike DeWine of Ohio should keep residents informed if the situation in our states becomes more threatening.


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