OUR VIEW: Overcoming selfishness in combatting COVID-19

FILE - In this May 24, 2020, file photo, visitors gather on the beach in Newport Beach, Calif., during the coronavirus outbreak. Warm weather beach destinations are the most popular vacation searches, with Florida, Myrtle Beach, San Diego and Key West among the top considerations.

We are living in a world where people can take a moment to photograph their lunch and make a video of their latest dance moves, but they can’t be bothered to put on a face mask and maybe save a life.

Between June 23-26, the Mississippi State Department of Health reported 2,779 new cases of COVID-19, an average of more than 694 cases per day as a resurgence of COVID-19 swept across the state.

We join state and national health officials in recommending everyone wear a face mask, maintain a physical distance with others and follow Centers for Disease Control guidelines.

State Epidemiologist Dr. Paul Byers said the record 1,092 cases reported on Thursday for Mississippi weren’t from any one particular event or tied to a specific county, but of “community transmission throughout Mississippi.”

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said the increase shouldn’t be attributed to increased testing.

The rise in cases has been fastest among young adults, who Dobbs said were failing to take the proper safeguards.

While older people have the greatest number of fatalities from COVID-19, the 18-29-year-old age group has the greatest number of cases, 4,496 as of numbers reported Friday. People under 40 accounted for 10,958 of the state’s 25,066 cases as of Friday.

Since Mississippi gradually began peeling back restrictions in May and an eager populace opened their doors, we’ve seen more people behave as if the pandemic is over and so is the need for precautions.

We’ve seen the beach scenes and crowds at some shopping areas. We’ve seen high school and college students throw caution to the wind and gather in large groups, some sanctioned by their schools.

We hold our breath and pray they don’t become ill or spread the illness among older family members, risking a loved one’s death for momentary pleasure.

Dobbs’ frustration was clearly evident in his news conference on Thursday.

"This reckless social behavior is going to harm the whole state," Dobbs said. "I'm absolutely terrified that we're going to overwhelm the health care system."

Young people aren’t totally to blame. Venture into public and you’ll see adults who are more concerned with their own “rights” than the safety of others and some leaders making decisions calculated on desires rather than scientific reality.

It can be difficult sometimes to comprehend we are only a generation or two away from ancestors who were willing to sacrifice so many personal needs during World War II for a greater good of all.

We do recognize the sacrifices made by many – maybe even the majority – over the last few months, including the loss of jobs, the touch of family members or all the comforts and joys we’ve come to know and expect from our modern world.

We just wish that sense of community, sacrifice and selflessness would be more contagious than COVID-19.

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