Clyde with mask

Clyde Wills models the newest fashion trend — face masks.

Most of the rural counties in central and southern Illinois have been extremely lucky in that there have been few cases of the coronavirus. Massac County has had six reported cases, Johnson County has had seven, and Pope County has had only one. That is not to say that there have not been, nor will be, hotspots in our area.

As of Monday, Pulaski County had 40 cases and Union County had 119. In Pulaski County many of the cases have been in the Tri-County Jail, which mostly holds federal detainees. The big problem in Union County has been COVID-19 is running rampant in three different nursing homes. But, Union County has also reported one case of a boy under 5, two female teenagers and one male in his 20s.

Our area is certainly not free of this very contagious disease.

We have been told by the federal government, state government and medical experts that we can all help keep the number of cases down in our area.

The ways we can help are to stay at home is much as possible, wear masks when we are in close contact with others, and use hand sanitizer and hand washing after being in places where we may have picked up the virus by touch.

From what I have seen by going into places like Hitterman’s and Big John, the employees are wearing masks, even when they are behind Plexiglas shields. And most of the customers are wearing masks as it is being requested by the store owners. That is great.

However, when I have visited the big box stores in Paducah it has been scary. The employees, of course, have masks, and most of the women and older men are wearing them. Unfortunately, many of the younger men are not taking the precaution. Medical experiments show that if two people are close together and one has on a mask the chances of contamination are slightly reduced.

But if both people have masks, sharing of the virus is greatly reduced.

Wearing a mask is not very comfortable and I feel sorry for the employees who have to wear them all day.

But it is not asking much for people to don a mask for 15 minutes while they are shopping.

As more and more businesses open, we all need to think that we may have the virus and we are taking steps to make sure we don’t give it to anyone else.

And the best way to do that is to keep a mask in your vehicle and make sure it is on when going in any place where you will be close to others.

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