The News Editorial: It's not over
November 12, 2020
You have heard it, I have heard it. It’s been said for many months now that COVID-19 is a hoax, a hoax to take down a president.
We hear them say it will all be over after the election.
In this space, we have emphasized that the pandemic is not a hoax. Guess what? We were right. We are a week past the election and COVID-19 didn’t mysteriously or miraculously disappear. We all wish that it had happened, but it did not and we knew it wouldn’t.
The virus is real. Real people are getting sick, some severely sick and some dying.
I am not writing this week to debate COVID math with you but to emphasize how real this virus is today, right now.
Washakie County has a positivity rate of over 4 percent. There are more than 50 active cases in the county. There are four people hospitalized. On Tuesday, Wyoming had an all-time high of 178 hospitalizations.
The number of deaths reported in Wyoming also continues to rise.
While Ten Sleep was slow to see cases, there is a “significant” number now according the county COVID team, so significant in fact that the school moved into its tier two phase with online learning for grades 6-12.
Worland Superintendent David Nicholas issued a letter to parents who will be attending activities at the schools — masks will be worn at all times at the activities.
Why? In order to continue to have activities.
The middle school and high school just completed their fall sports seasons. The winter teams would like to have that same chance and wearing masks and social distancing may be the only way.
Think of all we missed this summer — Culture Fest, Wyoming BBQ Championship and Bluegrass Festival, Nowoodstock, PRCA rodeos, concerts, plays and much more.
We are working our way back to having more events like the upcoming tree lighting at Pioneer Square, Christmas Parade of Lights in Worland and Ten Sleep. We do not want to take a step back.
You may be an anti-masker, you may say the science is not there, you may say if they work why are states with mandates seeing increase in cases? Perhaps without masks the numbers would be larger?
Yes, I know masks are not 100% effective, but I also know that not wearing them is 0% effective in stopping COVID-19.
Masks are encouraged to help slow the spread of the virus. No one has ever said that masks would end the pandemic or stop the virus.
This week the Northern Wyoming News and Washakie Medical Center, in a partnership from Washakie County Public Health and Emergency Management, are starting a “Mask Up” campaign featuring well-known people in the community masked up and expressing why they mask up.
If you have seen me around town lately, you’ll notice I am wearing my mask more. This is because I realized that when I go somewhere thinking I can social distance I find that often it does not actually happen.
No one enjoys wearing a mask. Do you think the restaurant workers who have worn them every shift for months go to work every day excited to wear them, or health care workers or anyone else who wears them on a regular basis at work.
I do not enjoy wearing the masks, especially in the cold when my glasses fog up, but I have come to the point where I am willing to wear them if it may help even one person not contract COVID-19.
Ever y week I learn of more friends who have become ill from it, one was hospitalized, one who said it was the worst they have ever felt, some wear masks and some do not.
The more people I hear from who have struggled with COVID, the more I want to do my part.
So all things being equal I would rather wear a mask and possibly prevent someone from getting ill than not wear one and risk making someone ill.
I will also say if wearing a mask will help ensure businesses stay open and events can continue to take place then I am all for that.
The election did not end the pandemic, it did not stop the virus. We cannot stop the virus either, but we can do our part to protect ourself and protect others. We need to do our part, now more than ever.