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Masking challenge important

Area residents must continue to take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19 especially as more counties move to yellow status Friday morning.

Blair, Bedford and Cambria will join Centre and Clearfield in seeing the opportunity for more businesses to open later this week. While it is a welcome and needed step, it also comes with considerable risk.

If there is a spike in cases, the state could — and says it would — reimpose the lockdown.

The coronavirus remains a potent threat to people’s lives and the economy. It can spread easily and can be deadly, especially to older residents with health conditions, such as cardio or pulmonary issues, obesity, diabetes or a suppressed immune system.

In addition, concerns now are being raised about the danger to children, who previously seemed largely to suffer minimal side effects from the virus.

Scientists are looking into cases of children with COVID-19 antibodies dying from an inflammatory syndrome similar to Kawasaki disease.

There is much we still don’t know about the coronavirus.

Because of this, it behooves everybody to remain vigilant in trying to prevent the spread of the virus.

That includes washing hands and surfaces regularly, use of hand sanitizer, avoiding large groups, following social distancing and, yes, wearing masks when interacting with others.

Yes, masks are a pain — especially to the ears — and a nuisance, but they might add another layer of protection in public settings.

It’s impossible to know whether another person at a gathering or passing you in a store aisle might have been exposed to the coronavirus and is unknowingly spreading it.

A mask cannot guarantee safety — just as a seat belt cannot stop every injury in an auto accident — but it’s a reasonable precaution.

The State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon should serve as a warning of how fast the coronavirus can spread. For weeks, Huntingdon County only had a handful of cases and seemed poised to move to yellow status.

Then a major outbreak at SCI Huntingdon exploded.

As of Monday afternoon, there were 175 confirmed cases — 136 inmates and 39 staff. Because of that — and even though the county had only a dozen cases not linked to the prison, the governor has kept the county in lockdown, a move officials are poised to defy.

One can argue the fairness of that decision, but it serves as a warning.

As more businesses open Friday — and we hope many more in the coming weeks as restrictions are eased — residents must remain extremely careful to keep the corona­virus at bay.

The life you save may be a family member or a friend.

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