By SEAN GOODBODY
Readers (who care) could have observed my writing has been very gradual within the COVID period. Effectively, issues have been type of terrible. Each regular factor (work, parenting, getting groceries, social life) has been a bit of tougher, and the cumulative impact is heavy. We’re sick of COVID.
However simply because we’re uninterested in one thing doesn’t imply it’s over. And I don’t know if the Mesa County commissioners perceive that.
Mesa County has made its play, getting ready to revoke practically all COVID restrictions: masks, indoor capability, you title it. I don’t imply to select on Commissioner Cody Davis right here, however he’s been placing out the commissioners’ gross sales pitch on their plan to return Mesa County to “regular.” And folk, it’s a nasty pitch.
First, Mr. Davis likened the selection of whether or not to observe COVID medical tips to his childhood reminiscence of over-eating macaroni and cheese and struggling the implications: “[T]hey’re decisions we elect to make for ourselves — and the implications are ours to bear. That’s known as freedom.”
Then, in a press release launched this week: “If a enterprise needs to proceed to social distance and take the suggestions from (public well being specialists) and require masks, they will do this. There’s additionally the liberty of a enterprise to not social distance and put on masks, in addition to church buildings and organizations.”
Mr. Davis then has the audacity to ask us to not decide those that received’t observe public well being steerage: “This decision isn’t meant for individuals to be judgmental in the direction of others who make choices for themselves. So if an individual nonetheless feels frightened of this illness… they will select.”
This, readers, is astonishingly unhealthy logic: “We all know medical doctors and public well being specialists say that is unhealthy, however we wish to do it anyway, and also you shouldn’t be mad at us. If you wish to be afraid of a virus that has killed 557,000 Individuals, that’s on you.”
Jenny Dwight-Barnes penned a wonderful letter to the editor responding to Mr. Davis. I don’t know Ms. Dwight-Barnes, however I hope she’s OK with me spotlighting all her concepts, as a result of we’re on the very same web page.
First, freedom to decide on is a core American worth. However so is banding collectively to guard our neighbors from a typical enemy. Sure, you’ll be able to select to not put on a masks, however since masks defend others greater than the wearer, it’s only a signal that you just actually don’t care a lot about your neighbors, and solely about whether or not a masks pinches your nostril (or no matter).
Second, not like consuming an excessive amount of mac and cheese, the implications of your actions in a world with COVID usually are not restricted to your self. Others are in danger, not merely your abdomen lining.
And lastly, I’ll quote Ms. Dwight-Barnes straight: “And sure, Mr. Davis, it is a possibility to guage our neighbor: Do they care in the event that they trigger my demise, my kids’s or my grandchildren’s? Or give us lifelong well being issues?”
Let’s be actual right here: if the county is correct, then we’ll see a rebound in financial exercise and a discount within the psychological well being prices of this pandemic. But when they’re unsuitable, individuals will endure, and will die. This isn’t a “slippery slope” argument; it’s a “it is a slope” argument. This revocation of restrictions may cause human struggling and demise.
A caveat: This pandemic has induced unfathomable monetary and emotional struggling for lots of of tens of millions of Individuals. That is partially as a result of authorities abdicated its a part of the social contract and deserted us. It prioritized preserving Individuals working regardless of large public well being dangers, forcing us to decide on between well being and monetary security. (Since I wrote on this subject final November, a further 300,000 Individuals died from COVID-19.)
So I perceive why individuals need issues to return to “regular.” This yr has been brutal. However an early return to “regular” could price Mesa County lives. If the commissioners are proper, I’ll be proper again right here congratulating them. But when they’re unsuitable, and never following public well being steerage results in unhealthy outcomes, we’ll have the “freedom” to carry the commissioners liable.
I see lots of flag-waving patriots saying they’ll do “something” to defend this nation. Something? OK: Put on a masks, socially distance, get vaccinated. The U.S. has by far the best COVID demise toll on the planet. These easy acts will save hundreds of American lives. That’s patriotism: figuring out that our actions can save others.
Sean Goodbody is a Grand Junction lawyer representing injured employees throughout western Colorado. E-mail [email protected]