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Dr. Alex Billioux, M.D., Assistant Secretary of Health for the La. Dept. of Health's Office of Public Health, speaks at Gov. John Bel Edwards' regular COVID-19 media briefing, Wednesday, June 10, 2020 at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge. Sign language interpreter Daniel Burch is at left.

In today’s politicized environment, maybe it was inevitable that there would be much learned commentary on the spread of coronavirus — by political affiliation. Yes, “hot spots” early on like New Orleans, but most of all New York City, were from Democratic urban areas; later, as testing expanded — and that’s not unrelated as cause and effect — the number of cases in more Republican-leaning jurisdictions has grown.

This was always a bit of a misleading characterization, although maybe a sign of our times.

The coronavirus pandemic — as the latter word implies — is not limited in scope, and as it did not limit its spread to political lines, it is making a leap over the jurisdictional lines that politicos hold dear. That is why Jefferson Parish, next to New Orleans, suffered early as well as the Crescent City itself.

And it is why, now, the nation’s leaders must be cautious.

For all the desire to have businesses up and running, key leaders have dissented from early re-openings. In New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell was cautious even as Gov. John Bel Edwards moved most of the state to the White House’s Phase 2 reopening.

Perhaps inevitably, there will be concern that as reopening proceeds, cases will once again rise to the level of straining the capacity of medical services, particularly in smaller cities and rural areas. That’s also why Edwards and his top medical advisers, like Dr. Alex Billioux, are worried about the unmasked, and there are many of us who are in that number.

Wearing masks is among the measures recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a way to prevent people from spreading the highly contagious coronavirus to others.

''What we hear over and over again is really inconsistent maskwearing, if not worse,'' Billioux told reporters Wednesday at a briefing with Edwards.

Obviously, Louisiana is hardly alone. The stock markets swooned on Thursday, as the spread of coronavirus cases — and fear of the potential economic impacts — infected traders.

The markets are going to go up and down, as caseloads are going to go up and down. Uncertainty is obviously not economic good news.

But on the public-health front, the good news is that wearing a mask is helpful and more people need to do it.

If that does not eliminate infections, it does protect those in vulnerable populations like the elderly, but it is also something that all of us can do to keep today’s gradual economic improvement on track.

Louisiana’s prospects are linked to the actions of its people, whether they’re Biden or Trump or other, in common cause against the pandemic.

We urge folks to wear a mask in public. It can make a difference.