“This is not smoke and mirrors,” Gov. Justice pleads with West Virginians to wear masks

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Gov. Justice and state officials provide an update for media on COVID-19 preparedness and response plans. For more information about COVID-19 prevention and more, call the State’s toll-free hotline at 1-800-887-4304 or visit Coronavirus.wv.gov.

The Governor began his conference going over the need for West Virginians to comply with the mandatory mask requirement in West Virginia. He addressed comments on social media which were against the Executive Order requiring masks in public buildings.

“This is not smoke and mirrors. This is the real real thing and it is eating us alive,” said Gov. Justice.

The Governor compared West Virginia to South Dakota which he said has half the population of the Mountain State but is significantly worse in its numbers. He stated there are more than 19,000 active cases there compared to West Virginia’s 10,000.

Addressing a picture of him with the National Championship Trophy at Marshall University without a mask. He stated this was outside and he was asked to remove his mask for that picture. This was a part of honoring the 50th anniversary of those who died on the Marshall Football team after a plane crash on Nov. 14, 1970.

He then honored the 21 people who died in West Virginia since Friday by reading off their ages and the counties where they lived.

The Reproductive Factor (Rt) is 1.12 in West Virginia. A vaccine report from Moderna states they have a treatment which is more than 90-percent effective.

Winter Sports have been postponed until January. This includes Basketball, Wrestling, and Swimming. The Governor also asked travel sports to stop for the time being. Fall sports will be allowed to finish their seasons as long as the counties remain out of Orange or Red on the County Alert System map.

The Governor offered an analogy on the number of people who die daily. He stated it is the equivalent of four airliners crashing each day.

Free testing is still available in nearly all 55 counties across West Virginia. Here is a look at the map:

The Governor addressed the outbreak at Stevens Correctional Center in McDowell County. In addition to 254 inmates there are 28 active cases among the staff. The facility is on lockdown and is following the response plan for the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The state responded to the outbreak after hearing from the county commission.

Dr. Clay Marsh spoke about the mask mandate. He stated the Governor is asking people to call on their humanity to protect each other and the community. This is done by wearing masks. He stated if 80-percent of people wear masks this prevents the spread of the virus in the same way as a vaccine.

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