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West Virginia officials express concern about national covid spike

West Virginia officials are warily watching numbers of coronavirus cases on the rise nationally.

The United States recorded more than 60,300 new cases Tuesday, and the national seven-day case average hit about 59,500. That’s the highest average since August 3.

“This killer is all across our land,” Gov. Jim Justice said today.

National experts have warned that the increasing numbers, combined with people spending more time indoors as weather becomes cooler, could result in especially difficult months ahead.

“Odds are it’s going to get even worse,” Justice said.

West Virginia’s numbers have held relatively steady in recent days.

The positivity rate for today was 3.36 percent.

The reproductive number was 1.04, up a bit from recent days. If it’s above 1.0, covid-19 will spread quickly. If it’s below 1.0, infections will slow.

But there were some other concerning signs.

The daily hospitalizations were at 188, on the rise.

And Justice had to announce 14 West Virginia covid-related deaths over the past couple of days. The state has recorded 413 covid-related deaths so far.

“If that doesn’t warrant a feeling of caution, I don’t know what does,” Justice said.

“Way too many.”

Dr. Clay Marsh

Coronavirus response coordinator Clay Marsh said the spread of coronavirus may be suppressed through increased testing, social distancing and wearing face coverings.

“It is heartbreaking every time we read the name of a West Virginian who has died when we realize it is in our power to prevent this,” Marsh said today.

Around the country, he said, “It’s getting worse.”

And, “If we don’t pay attention, it’s going to get worse right here in West Virginia.”

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