Letter: Please protect unvaccinated kids

In the USA, during Labor Day week, there were 250,000 confirmed new child COVID-19 cases (27% of all new cases). Last week, Steamboat PIlot & Today reported the following:

“Routt County’s COVID-19 positivity rate is now higher than it has been since the early days of the pandemic, rising to near 10% in the latest data update Monday (Labor Day) night. The roughly 150 cases seen in the past two weeks is the highest mark since coming down from when cases spiked in the first months of 2021.”

The Denver Gazette reports “that nearly every new K-12 school outbreak in Colorado was in a district that had no mask mandate.” On a positive note, our local school board has mandated masks. Thank you, school board members. It is one way we can work toward keeping our children protected.

So why are some folks in our county not wearing masks in public? Do they not have any interest in protecting unvaccinated children? Yes, vaccinated individuals can indeed safely resume their lives, but with 0% of children under 12 vaccinated, not wearing a mask in public settings can be deemed both premature and naïve.

Vaccines against COVID-19 are effective but only for those who can receive them. Children 12 and younger cannot receive them, putting them at ongoing risk for rare but serious COVID-19 complications.

For parents of young children and those who are immunosuppressed, lifting the mask mandate has provoked great anxiety. I mask in solidarity so they see one less exposed face at the grocery store.

Masking to myself means putting other people’s interests in front of our own. It’s a minor inconvenience sure but, at the end of the day, is not hurting anyone and can be the difference between a major outbreak and lack thereof.

The easy act of wearing a mask indoors when in public is not a hindrance to anyone’s life (unless one has medical complications due to mask wearing) and can benefit others in our families and community. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is right. Vaccines work. But so does masking to protect those who are most vulnerable when community spread is ongoing.

Zach Milavitz

Steamboat Springs

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