President Trump consistently argues that the country is getting past the coronavirus. During campaign appearances, he proclaims that the country is “rounding the turn” on Covid-19.
“Now we got to have spirit, our country,” he told rallygoers in North Carolina over the weekend. “We’re doing great. We’re rounding the turn. Our numbers are incredible.”
But they are not.
In fact, the virus is spiking around the country. New cases hit an all-time high on Friday. Hospitalizations have risen 40 percent in the last month and 41,000 people are now in the hospital with Covid.
The increases are putting a strain on health systems, particularly in the Midwest and Mountain West. In Kansas City, Missouri last week, some hospitals were turning away ambulances because they were out of space for patients. Bismarck, North Dakota hospitals are running short on ICU beds.
In neighboring Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear was sounding the alarm over the weekend. “We’ve got to tamp down these cases,” he said. “The more cases, the more people that end up in the hospital and the more people die”
West Virginia’s hospitals still have capacity, but officials are watching closely as the number of Covid patients rises. Department of Health and Human Resources tracking system shows there were 215 patients hospitalized with Covid-19 as of yesterday.
That is the highest number since they began tracking hospitalizations in May. The number of hospitalizations has been trending upward since July and has risen 47 percent since the September 1. The Rt number, a key measure in the spread of the virus, is trending upward again after dropping to the lowest in the nation just a few weeks ago.
Dave Ramsey, CEO of Charleston Area Medical Center, does not believe the worst is over. “We’re planning for another wave,” he said on MetroNews Talkline last week. Meanwhile, the hospital is making bed space available for patients from other states where hospitals are full.
“We have them from Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia… just areas that traditionally we would have gotten calls from that we are getting calls now,” Ramsey said.
Meanwhile, Governor Jim Justice may be an ardent supporter of President Trump, but he is not buying into the “rounding the turn” rhetoric.
He continues to encourage West Virginians to do their part until there is a vaccine. “Masks equal vaccine,” Justice said during a briefing last Friday. “The terrible killer is still with us. It’s spreading across our land. West Virginia is not exempt.”
To suggest that the country has turned the corner on Covid-19 is not only a denial of reality, but also a dangerous message that discourages Americans from continuing to take the necessary safety precautions to keep the virus from getting worse as we head into colder weather.