By Butch Kirven
In the 120-plus days since March 15, the number of reported COVID-19 cases in Greenville County has rocketed from 17 to more than 9,000. Back in March, everyone thought the pandemic would be over by June and we would be back to normal. That did not happen.
On June 26, Greenville County launched the “Love Your Neighbors” campaign to increase COVID-19 awareness and to ask everyone to take the necessary steps to reduce the spread of the virus. Many citizens have responded, and recent numbers of new cases reported indicate a leveling-off trend.
Greenville County’s half million population is the state’s largest, but it is second to Charleston County in total number of cases, which numbers roughly 2% of the county’s population. Until recently, the ZIP codes with the highest numbers of infections were on the western side of Greenville County along the White Horse Road corridor. That has just changed. ZIP code 29681 (Simpsonville east of I-85 including Five Forks) has one of the highest ZIP code infection rates in Greenville County, second only to 29607 in the Mauldin/Laurens Road area.
COVID-19 cannot be forced to go away. There is no known medical cure for the disease. Much of the “expert” information and advice has been contradictory and ineffective, resulting in a loss of credibility in government and its leaders.
Nevertheless, some basic truths have emerged:
- If you are not exposed to the virus, you will not get the virus.
- Wearing a face mask, keeping physical distance from other people, washing your hands frequently and avoiding crowds greatly reduces the chances of spreading the virus to others or catching the virus yourself.
Government mandates and decrees are negative approaches with limited effectiveness. Such orders invite resistance, and they are unenforceable. A better approach is to take personal responsibility for doing what it takes to subdue this disease. COVID-19 would be a greatly diminished threat in 30 days if everyone would wear a mask in public, clear their personal space, wash frequently and avoid crowds.
It’s a matter of being respectful of others — the way we were brought up — even though we live among many newcomers to our community. Most people go out of their way to do things for other people every day — why not wear a mask, keep a proper distance from people, wash frequently and avoid crowds, even if it is a little inconvenient?
If we all voluntarily do these simple things, we can safely get the kids back in school, get everyone back to work, enjoy sports and feel comfortable getting together with our friends.
Butch Kirven is chairman of Greenville County Council