I am a 75-year-old veteran. I was raised, and spent most of my adult life, rural counties, including the past 25 years on Starr Ridge. On May 19, Coffee Time broadcast an interview with Bill Newman. I don’t normally get involved in politics but was compelled to respond to that interview. Bill’s primary concern seemed to be the governor’s handling of the COVID-19 epidemic. He claimed it made no sense.

I would like to address Bill’s claim to have reached our to the community for anyone who might support the mandates of the governor. I would ask how did you reach out? Did you announce the meeting on the radio or in the paper so people would know? Either of those would have reached me, yet I knew nothing of the meeting.

As to the raising and lowering of local restrictions, they are not arbitrary. The CDC has set guidelines based on cases per thousand population. Unfortunately, our population base is so small that one or two cases, plus or minus, over any given time period can dramatically affect the level of restriction. And why the restrictions, anyway? Why shut down or limit in-person dining? Why wear masks and maintain social distancing? And most importantly of all, why get vaccinated?

Bill offered in response a website at Johns-Hopkins where one could compute the probability of dying from COVID. He claims the computer gave him a one in a million chance of dying from COVID-19. But this isn’t about you, Bill. This is about us. All of us. And it isn’t just about dying, though that is horrific enough in itself, it is about getting infected, because infected people transmit the disease. And the infection rate is much higher than one in a million. With a population just over 250 million and over 33 million infected, that works out to one in seven, not one in a million. And all these people are contagious. So are the uncounted thousands (millions?) that have the virus but show no symptoms.

The first concern of the CDC is to stop the spread of the disease. To do that they must consider not just the death rate but the infection rate. The problem is the virus can be transmitted by people who show no signs of it. All of the steps they have taken have been for that goal. To stop the spread of the virus.

I think the aspect of the restrictions that most concerns the average person on the street is the crippling effect on our local economies. But it is not the mandates and restrictions that have crippled our economies. It is the disease itself and its high level of contagion. You want the local business to return to normal? We cannot get back to normal until the disease is under control. And how best do we control the spread of the virus? Get vaccinated. Since the introduction of vaccinations, the rate of spread if the disease has decreased by 90%.

Finally, I must address a number of dubious statements Bill made, the first relating to his attempt to find a proponent of the mandates. He claims he could muster no attendee from the school district or the local government (Ron Lundbom excepted.) The basic story he received from “everyone” was “that the state government was threatening to close the schools and stop highway funding if someone even spoke out.” That is a pretty serious accusation. Hist story would be more plausible if he had attached a few names of the “everybody” he had talked to. He also claimed that Doctor Fauci was making millions off the vaccine. On what does he base this? Has he seen the doctor’s financial statements? Even the internet has not yet dared such an accusation.

Bill is right about one thing. We need to work together to return our country to its robust past. Get vaccinated. Wear a mask. Respect social distancing. The sooner we understand this the sooner everything will return to normal.

Robin Roberts

resides in Canyon City.

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