While more and more businesses in Idaho are joining the fight against COVID-19 by requiring customers to mask up, the number of new cases continues to reflect a sense that much more needs to be done in order to begin seeing a decline in infections statewide.

The COVID-19 virus has now been causing illness and death in the United States, and worldwide, for more than six months. Since the virus was first identified in Washington State in late-January, the number of infected Americans is now closing in on 5 million.

After months of debate over the effectiveness of masks in aiding to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, it has now been determined that they are very helpful. Public mandatory mask requirements at major stores in the Magic Valley is something that began just a few weeks ago, and there are still a large number of businesses that are not making customers use them.

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 331 probable cases statewide on August 3 alone. There have been 200 deaths linked to the virus in Idaho, and the number of confirmed cases now sits at 21, 675.

In the United States, more than 154,000 people have died from exposure to COVID-19, including close to 500 deaths in the past 72 hours. The CDC still recommends wearing masks, practicing social-distancing, washing hands frequently with soap and water, avoiding touching your face whenever possible, as well as a two-week, self-quarantine, for those who develop symptoms.

Symptoms of COVID-19 usually include a persistent dry cough, fever and fatigue.

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