Enjoy a quiet Labor Day weekend

Deb Moldaschel
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

I hope the people of our country don’t celebrate the end of summer the way they did the beginning. Remember way back in May? Staying home was getting old, even though it was helping flatten that pandemic curve in many areas of the country.

But economic worries, along with cabin fever, prompted many states to “open up,” even states that were no where near meeting the benchmarks established by federal and state guidelines. It was Memorial Day weekend and time to go full speed at summer!

Several states, primarily in the south and southwest, then experienced spikes in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. The numbers dominated the nightly news. They had to scale back on all that “reopening” they’d done and finally the numbers are improving.

Maybe we think we are safe out here in rural America.

In Brown County, during the week of Aug. 25 through Sept. 2, there were 25 new confirmed cases of COVID-19. As someone who watches those daily totals, I can tell you, that’s a lot.

Not only a lot, but also a lot of youngish people. The ages throughout that week ranged from under 10, to several in their teens, 20s through 50s, and one in their 60s. Hopefully their ages help keep them from serious illness and lingering after effects. Hopefully, we don’t see a spike in cases among their older relatives.

The state’s numbers don’t really seem to be improving either. On Sunday, Dr. Deborah Birx, of President Trump’s Coronavirus Task Force, visited Minnesota and gave a little lecture. She said we need to do better — we need to “buckle down” on prevention efforts (wear your mask). Her message was echoed Monday by MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm, who said current outbreaks “involve people lowering their guard at family gatherings, backyard events with friends and other get-togethers.”

Don’t let the Labor Day weekend add to our problems. If it does, Malcolm said, what comes next is going to be worse.