Are you more in the “comfortable at home” camp, or the “I have cabin fever and gotta go somewhere” crowd? If you’re going crazy from being at home, you probably look forward to any excuse to get out. On the other hand, if you are content with doing puzzles, baking, watching Netflix, and reorganizing your closets or doing some craft projects, you’re probably feeling pretty cozy.
I’m in the former category, although I did anticipate a trip to Longmont for a ninety-minute adventure in the car to a) recycle, b) take pictures of the Second Avenue bridge from below, c) drop off a jigsaw puzzle to a friend, d) pick up some tomato plants from Aspen Moon Farms, e) get a prescription at Walgreens’ drive through, f) pick up a birthday gift for our granddaughter at Target, g) retrieve groceries from an online order at King Soopers, and h) get gas at Safeway for 47.9 cents a gallon after my dollar-a-gallon discount. All in 90 minutes!
If you are champing at the bit and want to get out to a restaurant, go to a concert, get a haircut, or have friends over for dinner, you’ll probably find my “chores” a bit underwhelming. I hear you. I would like to do all of those things and more, but being in the at-risk category of over 70 and having some health issues, I would rather err conservatively than risk getting the virus.
Some states are easing restrictions on their citizens. Some municipalities are eliminating physical distancing, but many others are requiring masks and distancing in accordance with medical experts’ recommendations. Our own president is pushing to re-open the economy despite epidemiologists’ warnings that we need to have more testing and contact tracing.
At this point, we are number one in the world for coronavirus cases and deaths.
The method of counting cases and deaths varies from country to country, and even city to city, because the declaration of who has died from the virus depends on testing. Does an autopsy–or lack of one–indicate that the person was tested? If a person dies at home, and the morgues are filled and refrigerated trailers are used to store bodies, do we get an accurate account of deaths by COVID-19?
The true numbers may never been known since testing has not been done to the extent that experts say we need. There are just too many unanswered questions: Which tests are most accurate? How many people was a person in contact with while contagious? Does the presence of antibodies indicate immunity–and, if so, for how long? Will there be an effective vaccine? Will there be a resurgence of the virus caused by re-opening too soon?
As states, counties, and towns face pressure to keep casualties down while addressing economic needs, and businesses cope with what is starting to look like a depression, we get confusing messages from Washington. We look to experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci for advice about when we can begin to ease constraints.
There is a vocal minority that wants to do away with the masks and the limits on gatherings, and re-open businesses and schools. But without effective testing, we’re in unknown territory. We don’t know who has or has had the virus. On top of that, we also don’t know what the period of infectious transmission is, whether one gets immunity from exposure to the virus (and how long that immunity lasts), and whether a second wave will arise in the fall, alongside flu season. The president has said that “the cure can’t be worse than the problem itself.” That message is essentially is that a broken economy is worse than tens of thousands of deaths. But polling shows a majority of people are willing to keep restrictions in place for now. If testing and contact tracing are imperative to see where we are, no state can yet be certain about when to ease restrictions.
In Lyons, the Mayor and Board of Trustees are putting community safety first while recognizing that we need to do everything we can to help the town’s businesses. We have a community that cares–both for the businesses in town and for the individuals who live here. To see just a couple of examples, go to https://lyonsrecorder.org/2020/05/04/home-but-not-alone/
I’m proud of this community. And I think I’ll err on the side of caution by staying at home and wearing my masks until we know more about this nasty pandemic.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this Opinion Column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any staff member, contribution writer or the Lyons Recorder.