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Spreading

Youthful activity putting seniors at risk

If you are a West Virginian in the 60-plus age group, your best strategy for avoiding COVID-19 may be simple: Stay away from younger people. Too many of them are refusing to take defensive measures against the virus.

As a result, more and more in the under-60 crowd are contracting the disease. Though most of them experience few, if any, severe symptoms, they are carriers. And because a significant percentage of younger Mountain State residents refuse to wear face coverings or practice social distancing, they are spreading COVID-19 like wildfire.

Just a week ago, there were 1,581 active cases of the disease in our state. By Tuesday, that had shot up to 1,864. Thirteen more West Virginians’ lives had been claimed by the coronavirus during that week.

One of them was a 73-year-old Marshall County man who was described as having “very minimal pre-existing conditions.” Age alone makes a person more vulnerable.

Nationally, it appears clear that “young people are really driving a part of this expansion” of the disease, Dr. Clay Marsh commented this week. Marsh, who is West Virginia University vice president and executive dean for health sciences, has been labeled our state’s “COVID-19 czar.”

Here in the Mountain State, younger people are driving the numbers up. As of Tuesday, nearly two-thirds of the West Virginians diagnosed with the disease were less than 50 years old.

At one point, Monongalia County was the state’s worst COVID-19 hot spot. At one point, three-fourths of the people testing positive for the disease there were in the 18-29 age group.

“We haven’t seen the worst of this yet. This thing is building up,” Marsh told MetroNews this week.

We hope and pray he is wrong about that. But unless more younger West Virginians protect themselves — and thus, older people — against COVID-19, Marsh’s forecast may be measured in scores more deaths.

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