Herman, Marguerite

Marguerite Herman

We have heard plenty from the people who claim COVID-19 is a hoax, or merely a very, very, very bad case of the flu, with plenty of specious numbers and rumor and anecdote to present as proof. These are the “deniers.”

However, I have been hearing lately of something that is even worse. That is the distortion of the “minimizers.” They use the same data as the rest of us on the number of people sickened and killed in this pandemic. However, they contend that it’s all OK, because those real people were old or had an underlying condition and although they may have had many more years to share company and love with their families and communities, they were likely to die sometime anyway.

Yes, those are the minimizers, and their argument allows them to acknowledge the data, but also permit themselves to oppose and ignore health orders because – you know – “que sera sera” – fatalism.

We know the seriousness of the illness, and we’re still learning about the debilitating damage done even in young and healthy people, and even in people who have very mild symptoms, including long-term damage to heart, lungs and brain. We know the struggle of health care providers to keep up with the cases, and it’s impossible to deny (why would you?) the pain and loss of families and community. We are still trying to take the measure of harm to children and families when schools must close because staff and students are decimated by the virus.

But the minimizers. They scan and parse data to explain away the awful toll of this virus and to oppose restrictions from health officials.

For some, it is the “carpe diem” directive of “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Others ignore restrictions because they miss family and social connections, and they just can’t wait. I get that.

But much worse are the minimizers who try to discount COVID losses (and precautions) by trying to assign the “real” cause of death to something else. Anything to minimize the virus.

As COVID-19 thrives in our community and our state and continues to debilitate and kill Wyomingites, we do know how to slow transmission: mask, distance and clean. We also know people don’t do a great job at it when it’s voluntary. We know that life-as-usual is a super-spreader. We have health orders because they apparently are necessary to get this surge under control, working with the vaccines.

So please, folks, no more excuses. We don’t like to be told what to do. I get it. But in this case, please follow directives that will protect everyone, including the young, the healthy, the elderly, the vulnerable.

We are all worth it. No more excuses.

Marguerite Herman is a longtime Cheyenne resident who chairs the Laramie County School District 1 Board of Trustees.

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