Bill Kearns of the Morgan County Health Department said he couldn’t give any details about the death.
“As always, our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to the family of this individual,” Kearns said.
Covid cases have been shooting up around the country and in the state of West Virginia. In Morgan County, there have been 233 confirmed cases and now its first death.
Dr. Matthew Hahn of Berkeley Springs is seeing the surge first hand.
“Two months ago, we weren’t dealing with any cases on a regular basis,” Dr. Hahn said. “A month ago we began to see cases on a regular basis. Three weeks ago, we were dealing with one case per day. And now it’s multiple cases per day. The numbers are very concerning.”
In Berkeley Springs, people generally seem nonchalant about the spreading virus.
The Post Office has a sign out front advising customers that they must wear masks. But two weeks ago, clerks at the Post Office were seen not wearing masks.
Many businesses around town are conducting business indoors with workers and customers not wearing masks.
Part of this has to do with a widely held belief that masks don’t matter and that they don’t work, that “the ro (corona virus) is going to do what the ro is going to do,” as one Berkeley Springs resident put it recently.
And a recent hotly contested Danish mask study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine cast doubt about the effectiveness of masks.
John Webster of Berkeley Springs encapsulated the anti-mask view last month in a letter to the local newspaper, the Morgan Messenger (October 7, 2020).
“Having studied statistics and genetics in graduate school, I do have a fair understanding of how diseases run though populations,” Webster wrote. “One can try to hide or put off the inevitable, but Covid-19 must and will find its way. Some, of course, may die. I am nearly 74 and in an age group most likely to suffer the worst effects. I do not wear a mask.”
“I do not live in the fear promulgated by the mass media and taken advantage by our corporate-run government. There is money to be made, and what a great opportunity for the powers-that-be to grab more control over everything we do.”
At a September meeting of the Morgan County Economic Development Authority, Morgan County health officials reprimanded those in charge for holding a meeting with about 35 participants inside the Morgan County Commission room, with many not wearing masks.
After a few minutes of discussion, Angela Gray, the nursing director of the Morgan and Berkeley County Health Departments, walked out of the meeting, warning the EDA members on her way out that if any of them became Covid-19 positive, all of them would have to quarantine.
“There were 35 people in that room,” Gray told County Commissioner Joel Tuttle. “You haven’t talked to the 800 people (cases with confirmed Covid-19 in Morgan and Berkeley Counties at the time) I’ve talked with.”