Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and with an over 70% statewide vaccination rate, we’re back to record highs of Coloradans who are dying from the disease. We are at risk of having no available …
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Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic and with an over 70% statewide vaccination rate, we’re back to record highs of Coloradans who are dying from the disease. We are at risk of having no available intensive care beds.
We’re headed into the holiday season where it is likely that gatherings of people and colder weather forcing us inside means that cases will probably continue to spike.
And yet, while the Jefferson County Board of Public Health was in a marathon meeting about mask mandates last week, a protest against the policy raged outside with people continuing to make the short-sighted and simply incorrect argument that whether or not to use a mask is a personal decision that does not affect the health of anyone but themselves.
We had a breakthrough COVID case in our family last month. The person who got sick had tested negative one week before getting sick. She was fully vaccinated. Everyone at the only large gathering she had attended prior to contracting COVID had been vaccinated. And yet she got it and was very sick.
While she recovered relatively quickly and did not require hospitalization, the simple fact is that even though she had acted responsibly and done the things that were recommended to avoid COVID, she got it. Thankfully, the dozens of people with whom she had come into contact with got tested were all negative.
As I’ve said in this space before, I hate wearing a mask. Now that it’s colder, it’s worse as it causes my glasses to fog up. And yet the argument that it is intrusive for the government to require me to use a mask misses the point. It isn’t that intrusive. It’s not like I’m being asked to have a chip placed into my body so the government can track my movements!
Despite all the work and study that we’ve done over the last two years, we still don’t know what we don’t know about COVID. Why are vaccinated people getting the disease? Who can transmit it? Why is it so devastating to some people and mild for others?
I wish it wasn’t the responsible thing for local boards of health to reinstate mask mandates, but it is. Rather than villainize health officials or claim that making relatively minor sacrifices to protect both ourselves and everyone else treads on our most basic human rights, we should be pulling together to get this virus behind us.
While last week’s public health meetings and controversy were about masks, we really need a renewed focus on getting unvaccinated people to be vaccinated. Arguments against the safety and efficacy of the vaccine have been completely disproven. If we were completely vaccinated, it is likely that the masking controversy would resolve itself. But in the meantime, requiring masks again is eminently reasonable and the order should be observed.
Greg Romberg is president of Romberg and Associates. He lives in Evergreen with his wife, Laurie.
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