By David Stevens

Opinion: Looks like we're winning the fight against the virus


September 13, 2020

After months of scary numbers with no end in sight, recent weeks have suggested the worst of COVID-19 might be behind us.

It’s not time to gather in one large group, burn all our masks and shout hallelujah to the heavens. But it’s probably time to congratulate ourselves for getting a handle on the pandemic by adopting the covid-safe practices recommended by health experts.

Even Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday said New Mexico’s trend is “incredibly good news” and that she may soon relax more restrictions in her public health order, which crippled the state’s economy over the summer.

Here’s what the data tells us:

The state’s average number of deaths related to the virus were at 7.5 per day in May, still near 5 per day in June and July, but down to 3.5 per day so far this month.

The average number of positive tests in New Mexico has gone from 273 per day in July to about 140 per day over the past six weeks.

Locally, the numbers are also trending down after a rough July and August. Curry County averaged 9.4 new cases per day in July, but just 4.5 per day so far this month.

Curry, Roosevelt, Quay, Parmer and Bailey counties combined have had only 23 deaths related to the virus since the pandemic began early this year. About a third of those were tied to a nursing home in Friona.

But while it’s a relief to see the numbers going down, it’s also wise to remember fall and winter weather will drive us indoors soon, back into smaller spaces.

“We have to be vigilant, prudent and keep our guard up,” Lujan Grisham said

More important than anything any politician has to say, health experts are also warning that numbers could surge again if we fall out of the covid-safe habits of staying home when sick, hand-washing, mask-wearing and social distancing. Those safety measures may also have a positive impact against the flu, which peaks December through February, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

There’s still much to learn about the coronavirus, and its appearance may have changed the way we interact with each other, at least for now. But recent weeks prove that, with caution, we can prevent any disease from controlling our lives.

— David Stevens



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