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Keep the second wave of COVID-19 away from the state

Will the state of Michigan, as well as the United States, enter a second wave of COVID-19?

It remains to be seen. Photos of people not exactly engaging in the proper social distancing of at least 6 feet on local beaches made the rounds on social media over the Fourth of July weekend.

Whether the cases rise abruptly, stay the same or go down, one thing is for certain: Many individuals and organizations have stepped up to help people hurting in the pandemic.

For example, the Marquette Food Co-op is collecting funds through July 20 to help local banks through its Round Up at the Register program.

Cashiers will ask customers to round their shopping total to the nearest dollar or more when they check out with their groceries.

All funds collected will be used to purchase items for local food banks at St. Vincent de Paul, the Northern Michigan University Food Pantry and The Salvation Army at both Marquette and Ishpeming locations.

With furloughs, job losses and reduced income happening as a result of the pandemic, local food security is particularly important, and paying even just a few more pennies, nickels or dimes at the cash register will help people in need.

The state also has announced a variety of programs to help businesspeople affected by COVID-19.

These include the Michigan Strategic Fund, which provides grants to small businesses working to recover from the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

Economic assistance also is available for Michigan farms and agricultural processors to mitigate COVID-19 risks.

NMU already has invested more than $2 million in COVID-19-related safety measures, which is enabling students to return to face-to-face instruction this fall.

These include COVID testing for students and employees; new testing equipment for the NMU Health Center; health care staff for quarantine/isolation areas; and protective equipment and products.

Still, the individual has to step up as well.

That means maintaining social distancing, even while outside. It means keeping hand sanitizer readily available.

It also means wearing a mask in stores and other indoor places, and not throwing a temper tantrum when asked to put one on.

Again, social media has brought to the world’s attention the reactions of some people who took great offense to simply wearing a mask.

Yes, people have their civil rights, but people also have the right to be healthy, and if wearing a mask and standing at least 6 feet away will help, so be it.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette

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