Letter: Too little, too late
In a Denver Post article earlier this week, a number of Front Range public health leaders are urging Gov. Polis to implement more aggressive COVID-19 control measures, including county-level, stay-at-home orders.
A Nov. 5 letter to the state health agency from eight public health directors and the Colorado Association of Public Health Officials asked the state to strictly follow the color-coded dial system of five levels, from most open to lockdown.
The officials said they appreciate the latitude given by the state to the counties whose COVID-19 case metrics exceed their actual level on the dial. The letter noted that the state is experiencing an explosion of new cases and worried that delays in implementing more stringent controls will reduce the effectiveness of those controls, essentially rendering them “too little, too late.”
From Gov. Polis on down, state and county officials are reluctant to even consider lockdowns, even when the exponential growth of contagion warrants it. The incremental approach merely puts off hard decisions, giving the virus ample time to spread further and further.
If Steamboat Springs and Routt County really want a ski season, then we need a lockdown now. I realize that’s a wildly unpopular thing to say, but the only way we can hope to have a ski season by Christmas is to lock down. If we operate at any level short of a lockdown, we merely gradually slow the contagion, not significantly slow it.
Do you really think that skiers from around the country will want to come to a COVID-19 hotspot? Do you really think that slow or reluctant adoption of stricter controls, short of lockdown, will significantly slow the growth and spread of the virus? You can certainly hope so, but I don’t think that’s a reasonable expectation.
The county needs time for more testing and contact tracing to get a handle on this. A lockdown is the best way to buy time for health officials and the county. It gives us the most bang for the buck in slowing this pandemic down — maybe not stopping it but slowing it down enough that we can rescue this ski season from probable collapse.
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