More deaths, pandemic cases in Floyd this week

For the second day in a row, we have another death from COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic cases in Floyd County appears in Friday morning’s report from the Virginia Department of Health, plus two more cases. The county now has 11 deaths, 11 hospitalized and 208 cases.

Cases in Roanoke city and county and Salem increased by 48. Collectively, the three localities have 3,050 cases and 43 deaths.

Virginia added 966 cases, 22 deaths and 48 hospitalizations in the latest VDH report. The Commonwealth’s cases will hit at least 150,000 by Saturday with more than 11,140 hospitalizations and 3,350 deaths.

Worldwide, more than 1 million have died, with 34.5 million infected. The United States is closing in on 7.5 million cases with more than 212,000 deaths.

Among the localities of the New River District, Floyd has more than double the number of deaths than other location: More than double the number than second place.

Floyd County has about 15,000 residents. Neighboring Montgomery County has six times the population, the largest town in the Commonwealth and two universities. It has far more cases of the virus but less than half the deaths.

We’ve lost too many friends and relatives to this pandemic over the last seven months. With no end in sight, we must remain vigilant.

The more and more information confusing the pandemic, the upcoming election and our lives in general, we must be more careful about making sure that what we hear, what we read and what we are told is correct.

“If you’re looking for solid information on COVID-19, the Internet is not always your best bet—equal parts encyclopedia and junkyard, solid science on the one hand and rubbish, rumors and fabulism on the other,” writes Time magazine editor at large Jeffrey Kluger. “Distinguishing between the two is not always easy, and with so much of the time we spend online devoted either to sharing links or reading ones that have been shared with us, not only does the junk get believed, it also gets widely disseminated, creating a ripple effect of falsehoods that can misinform people and even endanger lives.”

A new paper from Psychological Science adds:

At its worst, misinformation of this sort may cause people to turn to ineffective (and potentially harmful) remedies, as well as to overreact (hoarding goods) or, more dangerously, to underreact (engaging in risky behavior and inadvertently spreading the virus).

“Our research has shown that emotion makes people less discerning,” says David Rand, associate professor at the MIT School of Management and a co-author of the new study. “When it comes to COVID-19, people who are closer to the epicenter of the disease are likelier to share information online, whether it’s true or false.”

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