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Pandemic far from finished

Nearly all those seen in videos of a shoulder-to-shoulder pool party at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri appear to be younger people, probably under 40. The risk to them, assuming they are in good health generally, is low. But we know they can serve as carriers of COVID-19, infecting older men and women for whom the virus can be deadly.

In fact, the virus has killed more than 100,000 Americans in only three months.

Why are so many people behaving as if the epidemic is over? It is not. Now is certainly not the time to relax our efforts to keep the disease from spreading.

Officials in several communities, including Marietta, have made the decision already to keep municipal pools closed this year. A few pools will open on Saturday, the first day they are permitted to do so in West Virginia. A few others in both our states may open for the season next week.

Good. With proper health safeguards such as social distancing, that should be no problem. But if pool patrons abuse the system with anything like the misbehavior being seen in some other regions of the country, the pools will shut down. Bank on it.

Keep that in mind if you plan to swim in a public pool. We expect the vast majority of people in the Mid-Ohio Valley will behave appropriately, simply because it is the right thing to do. But if, for example, you have traveled longer than usual to get to an open public pool and arrive to find it near capacity, it may be tempting to squeeze in, anyway. Please don’t.

If doing the right thing is not enough incentive, think about your actions forcing pool managers to shut down — as they should — and stay that way during the sweltering days of July and August.

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