Let’s talk baseball. No, not the game itself, but how if the COVID-19 pandemic symbolized one, it would today only be in the 2d inning of what clearly is a long, difficult battle with no help from the coaching staff. And right now in Bucks and Montgomery counties, the clash is like this:

Bases are loaded with two outs. The game is tied and you’re at bat. How will you do? Follow sensible, proven pandemic measures like wearing a mask and keeping a safe distance (base hit), or ignore responsible action and help the virus flourish (ground out).

Since the counties turned “green” June 26, new COVID-19 cases locally have been relatively low, especially compared to a soaring rise nationally to a horrifying rate threatening 100,000 daily. According to Bucks health officials, the county averaged 10 new cases in each of the three days immediately following the green light. Over the next three days, there were 61 new cases with about half of those the result of out-of-state contact. Montgomery County similarly has seen new cases.

With mitigation measures already in place — maintain a social distance and wear a mask — Bucks and Montgomery residents must play by the game rules and hold down COVID-19’s advances -- advances growing elsewhere in Pennsylvania. State health officials July 2 reported 832 additional positive cases, the highest new-case total since May 20. The state now has a total of 88,074 cases and 6,712 virus-related deaths.

“Our latest data shows that the number of COVID-19 cases is increasing across the state,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, state health secretary. “The virus has not gone away.”

From the start of the pandemic in February there’s been little sound help from management, just repeated finger-pointing, name-calling and ignoring of the facts. So what can we do now?

“Each of us has a responsibility to continue to protect ourselves, our loved ones and others by wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and washing our hands frequently,” said Levine.

You reap what you sow, it’s said, so goof-off and expect locally to say goodbye to “green” and the open gyms, bars, restaurants, barber shops and hair salons.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, new COVID-19 cases in the United States hit record highs over the past few days. States where restrictions were loosened earlier than in others, including Florida, were the site of some of the biggest spikes.

Here’s the pitch. How will you do?

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