OPINION: Death toll in Chambers County is alarming

Published 8:17 am Thursday, April 2, 2020

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As of this writing, no county in Alabama had more reported deaths related to COVID-19 than Chambers County.

East Alabama Medical Center announced this weekend that five people from Chambers County had died from complications related to the coronavirus, which continues to spread at warp speed around our state and others.

Chambers County and its population of 33,000 has more deaths from COVID-19 than any other county in Alabama — Jefferson, Shelby, Montgomery, Mobile. To put it another way, as we write this, all of the big population centers from around the state have less reported deaths.

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If that’s not an eye opener, then we’re not sure what is.

We understand how challenging and different life is right now.

People in Chambers County are friendly, pat-you-on-the back, supportive neighbors, who want to help in any way possible.

Remember how this community came together after the Beauregard tornado last year? It was emotional to see so many strangers work quickly to help people who lost everything.

It’s against our nature to avoid other people, but that’s where we are right now.

It seems wrong, it feels wrong, but it’s the right thing to do. It means avoiding in-person church services. Most churches are streaming online right now. It means not participating in any large gatherings, whether they are family reunions, funerals or basketball games.

We know it’s inconvenient and a pain, but it pales in comparison to the harsh reality that many families are facing.

More than 40,000 people have already lost their life worldwide, and the United States now has more confirmed cases than any country in the world.

According to information from John Hopkins University, we have over 100,000 more cases than China and more than 80,000 more cases than Italy, and those numbers will be much higher by the time you’re reading this.

We understand a lot of the national perspective our readers have come from the national media, whether it be Fox News, CNN or another channel or source.

The local media is a lot different than the national media you see on television. We live here, shop here and work here. This is our community too. 

You can read these 600-plus words as a newspaper editorial if you’d like, but we prefer you read it as a group of concerned community members pleading with you to do the right thing.

This is what we ask: Do your part by staying at home as much as you can.

If you have to go to work, then do what you have to do, but also try to keep your distance from others. Avoid large gatherings. Don’t go to the grocery store just to get out of the house. Go when you need something.

Don’t join a basketball game because you’re bored. If you’re in a group right now for any type of service or meeting, then you are part of the problem.

If you care about this community, you’ll sit at home as much as possible until this virus is gone. And that will happen — eventually.

But every time there’s a large gathering in our community, it extends the number of days we’ll all have to isolate ourselves.

People are dying from this virus, and right now the death toll in our community is extremely alarming.

Our friends and neighbors are dying from COVID-19 and if we don’t change our actions, unfortunately, we will likely lose other members of this community.

Let’s not let that happen.

We can all play a part in slowing the spread, so we ask for everyone to stay at home, wash their hands well and follow the guidelines of the CDC. 

Life will eventually return to normal, and we can all speed it along by doing what we’ve been asked to do.