With the presidential election receding in the rearview mirror, it is time for our country, our state and our community to turn its full focus back on the pandemic which is burning brightly and threatening the health of millions of Americans and looming like a monster over our economy once again.

The number of new infections is soaring, the positivity rate for virus testing is dangerously high, hospitalizations across the country are rising fast, and higher mortality rates by most estimations will not be far behind.

The monster is casting a foreboding shadow over our national economy, which was just getting back on its feet after being devastated in the first months of the pandemic.

Frederick business owners — from a multimillion-dollar mall management company to the owners of small businesses — are looking ahead to the winter with deep trepidation.

The owner of the Francis Scott Key Mall, a real estate investment firm called PREIT, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said the filing is not expected to impact operations. Although FSK mall was not mentioned in potential closures, it still remains in the bottom third of PREIT’s core malls. It was closed from March until June, under Gov. Larry Hogan’s executive order.

Closer to home, business owners like Vito and Tammy Loiola, owners of Quality Shoe Repair on North Market Street, are worried about the future of their shop. It was closed for three months because of the pandemic, but business has not been thriving even since it reopened in July.

The county has been helping this and similarly sized businesses. News-Post reporter Erika Riley spoke with the Loiolas and other small business owners, and the message from them was that they are just trying to hang on.

The county is planning to distribute more grants before the end of the year, with funds it still has from the federal CARES Act and a newly allocated “rainy day” fund.

The state government also is rushing more money to local businesses in its #Maryland-Strong recovery package, but it too will need more money from the federal government.

The number of new daily virus infections surpassed the 100,000 mark on the day after the voting ended. The positivity rate here and around Maryland has crept past 4 percent, a disturbing trend. One percent is the goal of health professionals.

Back in June when new cases were averaging roughly 42,000 a day, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci predicted that the rate would eventually reach 100,000 a day if the pandemic were not brought under control. His blunt assessments drew attacks from Trump administration officials, including the president.

But he was right.

Now, Fauci has told the Washington Post that the country “could not possibly be positioned more poorly” as winter approaches and colder temperatures lead people to gather indoors.

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt,” he said.

And it looks as though he is right again.

His grim outlook has been seconded by Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force.

“We are entering the most concerning and most deadly phase of this pandemic … leading to increasing mortality,” she wrote in a Nov. 2 report. “This is not about lockdowns – it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”

Birx’s report warns that testing is “flat or declining” in many areas where cases are rising, and that an aggressive testing and tracing program, along with much more widespread use of masks, are the things that can slow the spread.

Our nation, hopefully led by the federal government, needs to renew its battle against the dreaded disease, and once again provide relief to suffering families and struggling businesses.

A safe and effective vaccine is at least many months away from reality. We must protect each other now, and that means keeping our masks on, our social interactions distant, and our hands clean.

Now that the presidential campaign is over, our hope is that Congress will be able to agree on a new relief package. What we know for certain is that the COVID-19 virus is not going away and the outlook in the near term is grim.

(14) comments

jerseygrl42

actually the elections are not behind us; the 2 Senate re-runs in GA will have significant impact on the entire country

sevenstones1000

No, we must all be held hostage while the toddler in the White House throws a hissy fit and attempts to burn down the country, aided and abetted by the Senate Republicans and Moscow Mitch.

NewMarketParent

And now it is being reported the Ben Carson is infected. The Ben Carson that is a neurosurgeon and part of the Coronavirus Task Force, JFC. And some of y'all still voted for this administration. One day, you will understand that the last person to understand a con was the mark.

public-redux

Seems I remember some people saying Covid was a Dem hoax that would immediately disappear if Biden won.

bpswp

Three simple rules: mask, physical distance, and wash hands.

shiftless88

You would THINK those are simple but apparently many people seem unable to handle these three things.

bosco

Simple steps and common sense escape a great deal of the population. I tend to think a little social Darwinism may help cleanse the gene pool.

Our social circle is still well. Could be a factor of most of us have achieved some level of higher education.

Is your circle still doing OK shiftless?

[ninja]

NewMarketParent

@Reek

Common sense must extend to leadership. It is leadership's job to put everyone in the best position to win. That doesn't guarantee a win, but does raise the odds of a win. We keep losing because we are being put in a position to lose.

threecents

"We have turned the corner on the pandemic," Trump reassured us during the last debate, just before the huge up swim in cases. Soon we were up to 100,000 new cases/day and now it is around 130,000 cases per day and a total of over 240,000 US deaths. Trump blamed the increased number of cases on too much testing, but he ignored the fact that the death rate also increased. The worst part is that his followers believe him.

https://www.bing.com/search?q=us+cases+per+day+covid&form=ANNTH1&refig=ebabce1b55004dfe8d42d2767fe3ff85&sp=3&qs=AS&pq=us+cases+per+day&sk=AS2&sc=3-16&cvid=ebabce1b55004dfe8d42d2767fe3ff85

Dwasserba

'“This is not about lockdowns – it hasn’t been about lockdowns since March or April. It’s about an aggressive balanced approach that is not being implemented.”'

DickD

Donald Trump said that he is going to fire Fauci. O'Bannon had a hideous statement that he should be thrown in jail for. Better days are coming as Biden will rehire Fauci, if he is fired and Biden will follow the science. We got a bad POTUS as a result of the 2016 election, now we can put that behind us.

threecents

Basically, the entire pandemic team was fired. They used to be on TV every day, but they have not even had official meetings for months. Trump decided it was best to ignore the pandemic. The extent of his involvement over the past few months was to blame it on China and discourage testing and masks.

NewMarketParent

A lot of the states that are lit up red for 45, are lit up red for coronavirus infections. It is crazy to watch my countrymen sacrifice themselves for a mediocre huckster racist.

Greg F

Trump does not have direct capability to fire Faucci...and if Alex Azar wants to have a shadow of a chance of not being replaced, he won’t do it either.

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