Commentary: It's time to double COVID-19 mitigation efforts to ensure sports can happen

Matt Hollinshead
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in New Mexico going down significantly in recent weeks, now’s the time to double our mitigation efforts to ensure sports can resume safely in February.

The seven-day rolling average for COVID-19 cases was about 2,670 just a couple days before Thanksgiving. As of Saturday, the seven-day rolling average was down to 1,185.

There were 947 COVID-19 hospitalizations as of Dec. 3, and that number’s dropped to 758 as of Sunday, according to data on the New Mexico Department of Health website.

The state’s latest “shelter-in-place” order, which is limiting the number of people allowed into establishments at one given time, is meant to help reduce transmission of the virus. The public health order’s also reinforcing the need to only leave home for essentials, such as groceries or medical care.

NMAA start:New Mexico Activities Association votes to move sports start date to Feb. 1

COVID vaccine:Workers at Farmington hospital thankful staff received COVID-19 vaccine

The drop in cases and hospitalizations show it’s working, but New Mexicans can’t solely rely on state restrictions to do their part to help reduce the spread.

New Mexicans must continue doing the simple things: wearing a face covering in public, washing their hands and staying home more often.

And even after one finally gets vaccinated in the coming weeks and months, for which you can pre-register at, New Mexicans cannot afford to drop their guard and potentially get exposed.

The last thing these student-athletes need is for those decreasing numbers to trend back up again due to complacency and see another surge because of the subsequent impact: overwhelmed hospitals being stretched beyond the limit, which will only prolong the state restrictions.

Typhany Lovato and Ethan Beevers talk to classmates, Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, while protesting the public health orders preventing them to attend class in person or compete in sports at Bloomfield High School.

Don’t let it reach a point where Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has no choice but to cancel sports altogether.

Moving sports to at least February seems to show Lujan Grisham is being flexible in trying to safely resume sports.

The drop in cases and hospitalizations the last few weeks is encouraging, and that downward trend must continue over the next few weeks to give the governor confidence to give the OK on sports.

Oñate High freshman Helena Strawbridge hold a sign in front of Branigan Library on Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, to protest the postponement of fall sports in New Mexico.

Amid concerns of a post-Christmas surge in COVID-19 cases, it’s well within our control to put forth the extra effort with face coverings and staying home more to keep the numbers on that downward trend.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577, and on Twitter at @MattH_717.

Support local journalism with a digital subscription: