Letter: Please wear a mask to help stop the spread of COVID
Routt County has the highest rate of COVID-19 since the start of this pandemic. Nearby counties Eagle, Summit and Pitkin are leading the nation in cases. We are not far behind with case counts expected to rise exponentially over the next one to two weeks.
As of this writing, Pitkin County has the highest per capita incidence rate of COVID-19 in the country. Summit County is No. 2, and Eagle County is No. 4. Routt County currently has the fifth highest per capita incidence rate in the state. The two-week case total of 587 is a new record, surpassing the previous high from last January by more than 100 cases.
The evidence is clear that masks cut down on COVID-19 transmission, yet mask use in Routt County has gone down — just go into any store or public place. Go to the library or indoors at the ski resort and see how many people are not wearing masks even when these establishments require it. We know that universality is key: Any benefit requires consensus and broad cooperation.
Is it too much to ask to have citizens wear masks? The simple answer is no, it’s not too much to ask. The challenge of compliance remains. Ordinary people are simply trying to do the right thing and being challenged for doing it.
Each of us must do our part to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19 to protect our friends, our families, our community and our health systems. First and foremost, each of us needs to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, protection from COVID-19 with vaccination takes up to six weeks depending on the vaccination choice (protection is achieved two weeks after completion of the two-dose series separated by 3-4 weeks or two weeks after the one-dose vaccination series). Thus, masking will protect all of us from the virus now.
The virus does not respect county lines. A statewide mask mandate for the next few weeks would help alleviate the strain of COVID-19 on our communities and health systems, and is urgently needed to protect all of us. In the meantime, let’s each of us do the right thing.
Wallie Morris and Alethea Stone
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First of all, a big thank you to Routt County businesses that require customers and staff to wear masks. When businesses do this, we not only feel safer, we are safer.