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Cold weather may bring second wave of virus

T-R PHOTO BY THOMAS NELSON Medical experts are predicting a second wave of COVID-19 cases as the weather turns colder. The Marshall County Public Health Nurse is encouraging everyone to continue wearing masks to reduce the risk to themselves and others.

By THOMAS NELSON

TIMES-REPUBLICAN

inter and fall will bring complications to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The colder weather will make people stay indoors where it’s more difficult to socially distance. These conditions make some experts predict a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic during the coming fall and winter months.

“We’ll be congregating more,” Marshall County Public Health Nurse Pat Thompson said. “It’ll be harder to socially distance. During the summer we’ve been able to sit on a deck with some people that you know very well.”

Reducing risk in regards to COVID-19 is the name of the game, which includes taking all the precautions, washing hands, wearing a mask, socially distancing, staying home if you’re sick and avoiding groups. All of that is just as important during the colder months.

“It’s not just for COVID-19, it’s for viruses that are transmitted in the air,” Thompson said.

The pandemic has continued for more than six months and people are beginning to get complacent with people meeting in large groups, in close quarters and the impact of the complacency has increased the reach of the virus.

The risks of a second wave are real.

“People may not feel well, but still want to go places,” Thompson said. “It’s important to stay home and wear your mask. Your mask does make a difference.”

Masks are not for the wearer’s protection, but for the protection of people around the wearer. COVID-19 spreads so quickly because it is asymptomatic, which means someone with it may not show symptoms.

“You may not know you have it,” Thompson said.

When the pandemic first started spreading in Marshall County the city closed down parks and city-owned buildings. Recently, Mayor Joel Greer issued a proclamation calling for residents to wear masks.

“There’s no real protocol for something like this,” Greer said. “What I think we would do is assess it again like I’ve had to do a couple different times based on new data.”

The city also issued an emergency declaration in March because of the virus.

If a second wave started and it looked like it might be worse than the first, Greer is prepared to work with the city council and Marshall County Board of Supervisors to find a solution.

The colder months also bring some of the most intimate holidays. Thompson said now is the time to start planning ahead for the holidays to a family’s comfort level.

“We really want to be together, but this year may look a little different,” she said.

The best way forward as the temperature drops is to be as selfless as possible.

“It’s taking care of our community and as we go through this it’s not about me as an individual. It’s about protecting other people as best I can because when I take care of myself and reduce my risk I’m also helping other people with their risk,” Thompson said. “Sometimes we have to look past what we want at the moment.”

She continues to push for people to wear a mask when they can.

“It helps a lot,” Thompson said.

She also encourages people to get their seasonal flu shots because it is possible to get COVID-19 and the flu.

“It’s that time of year,” Thompson said.

There are several reports of a coming vaccine for COVID-19 in the next several months.

“Get your shot please,” Thompson said. “It’s a novel virus and we have absolutely no protection. You still need to continue the same habits.”

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Contact Thomas Nelson at 641-753-6611 or tnelson@timesrepublican.com

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