At one point, things were looking up regarding the manner in which West Virginia was handling the coronavirus pandemic.

However, as the state’s number of cases and deaths keep slowly climbing, it’s time someone took the reins and began leading again.

Gov. Jim Justice announced in late April that April 30 would be the first day of Week 1 in his phased-in plan to reopen The Mountain State.

Just for the record, on April 30, Marion County had 45 cases of COVID-19, Harrison County had 30 cases and Monongalia County had 102 cases and 44 deaths were reported statewide. The next day, May 1, Marion County got one more case to jump to 46, a number that would remain steady until May 16 when the 47th case was diagnosed.

And as the weeks passed and the reopening continued, the case numbers began to climb. On May 24, Marion County got its 50th case and, on June 13, its 52nd case. So, it could still be perceived that the curve everyone talked about had been flattened, perhaps because we must consider, at this point, testing had been ramped up and more people being tested would result in uncovering more COVID-19 positive residents.

Then, the end of June came rushing by. We got our 54th case on June 23, our 56th case on June 30. Now, fast forward to July 4, the day we celebrated the birth of this great nation, six new cases were reported from Friday to Saturday, July 4 giving Marion County a total of 67 cases. That’s an increase of almost 49% from April 30.

Also on July 4, Harrison County reported 70 COVID-19 cases, while Monongalia County reported 216 and the state reported 94 deaths statewide. It’s been especially bad in Morgantown where bars in the downtown area were recently involved in a spike that has led some bar owners to announce they are not reopening due to the community spread.

And the signs are everywhere as to why the numbers keep increasing. Look around the next time you go to the grocery store, and count the number of people who are wearing masks.

Monday cannot arrive soon enough because that’s the day Gov. Justice said he would announce whether or not he would issue an order making face masks mandatory in West Virginia.

We support the move to mandatory mask use in tandem with the current guidelines involving cleanliness, coughing into your elbow or a tissue, not touching your face and practicing physical and social distancing. Again, we use Justice’s own words he uttered in May at one of his daily pandemic media briefings.

“Everybody should understand that this disease is not going anywhere. We’ve got a figure out a way to live with it until we get a drug that can cure it,” Justice said.

But, we are at a point that someone has to lead and are calling on the governor to do just that.

There should be no more discussions saying we are out of the first wave of COVID-19 because the numbers of positive cases did not end. We simply jumped back into reopening too quickly.

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