Letter: Routt’s path forward

On March 29, the Centers for Disease Control published very encouraging trial results for the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines that should bolster both public and policymaker confidence that the end of the pandemic (for the U.S., at least) is in clear sight. From The New York Times’ reporting on the study:

• A two-dose regimen prevented 90% of infections by two weeks after the second shot. One dose prevented 80% of infections by two weeks after vaccination.

• There has been debate over whether vaccinated people can still get asymptomatic infections and transmit the virus to others. The study … suggested that transmission is extremely unlikely.

• There also has been concern that variants may render the vaccines less effective. The study’s results do not confirm that fear. Troubling variants were circulating during the time of the study — from Dec. 14, 2020, to March 13, 2021 — yet the vaccines still provided powerful protection.

Therefore, I now ask our Routt County commissioners, what is your plan to get our community back to normal? Not some pseudo-normal if and only if one has a vaccine passport, nor 10 phases of restaurants reopening at 5% increments, nor masks required if you ate potato chips on the third Thursday of the prior month, etc.

Instead, when do you cede your emergency powers and “allow” businesses and individuals to return to making their own decisions and managing life’s risks for themselves?

On this, I have an opinion to offer: May 15. That is one month after Gov. Jared Polis has indicated there will be sufficient vaccine supply for all adults in Colorado. By that time, protecting hospital capacity will be a non-issue.

Unvaccinated exposure to the virus will truly be a personal decision, just like smoking cigarettes or eating bacon. Any argument about unvaccinated children will ring hollow as they will neither be able to unwittingly infect at-risk adults (rare as it already is) nor are they statistically at risk themselves for a negative outcome from contracting the virus.

The time has come for optimism. You were swift in your actions to shutter our lives and economy. If the state provides local jurisdictions with the latitude to lift mandates, I expect Routt’s leadership to do so with haste. If you do not, your future credibility may be at risk, and I would be unsurprised if our citizenship took it upon themselves to determine just which policies they will continue to heed.

Kevin Fisher

Steamboat Springs

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