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This isn’t the time to stop mitigation

A few things struck me as I opened the May 11 issue of the Mirror.

First was the headline “Region records more virus deaths.” The second was a photo of two maintenance workers at Canoe Creek State Park with their masks down around their neck, while they worked closely together.

The caption should have read, “People still not taking this virus seriously.”

Next was a letter decrying the wearing of masks and stating that people should stay home if sick. That simplicity overlooks the recent research that found many asymptomatic people are transferring the virus to others and the early stage of the virus is when we are the most contagious.

While the CDC and Dr. Deborah Birx stress that masks are not a substitute for social distancing, our state senator posts a photo op with dairy princesses standing shoulder to shoulder with each other.

On Mother’s Day, I witnessed numerous instances of families gathering with members 60 years old and older, without masks or social distancing.

Area youth are again holding four-on-four basketball games on public courts.

Our community leaders have been grandstanding and pushing for a reopening without any plan for widespread testing or contact tracing.

A recent Mirror article stated that there are 40 contact tracers for 13 counties, of which Blair is one. We clearly do not have a plan. How many of the over 1,100 full-time workers in the two Huntingdon prisons are living and shopping among us?

Nobody is calling for a lifetime of mitigation. We have only been asked to wear masks in public and near others for four weeks. Social distancing is not solitary confinement.

It seems like the message being sent is that there has been an overreaction, and none of the mitigation was or is necessary. That is wrong.

As a former business owner and one who has lost a business during an economic downturn, I have empathy for those who have been hurt by the mitigation. This economy will not rebound until people feel confident about safely accessing businesses and services.

That confidence is directly connected to adequate testing and contact tracing. For the benefit of future commentators, I am not hiding in my home in fear.

Thomas D. McCaffrey

Hollidaysburg

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