High Points: Challenging times | AspenTimes.com

High Points: Challenging times

Paul E. Anna
High Points

I’m not sure what to think anymore as we approach the second anniversary of living under the rules of the pandemic.

We are in a challenging period, especially here in the mountains where our infections are still sky high for the current omicron variant of COVID-19. If you look at the daily New York Times color coded map of “hot spots” provided by the Center for Disease Control we are the darkest color you can get. Pitkin County, as of Wednesday, was averaging 92 cases per day and had a rate of 517 cases per 100,000 people. The Aspen Times COVID-19 Daily Report for Jan. 5, as compiled by Johns Hopkins, showed 58 new cases on Tuesday. That is down considerably from just a week ago but still a chilling number

And yet, perhaps thanks to the number of vaccinations and the seemingly milder form of the variant we are not seeing as many hospitalizations here and, most importantly deaths, overall. The NY Times has shown a 3% to 5% decrease in the daily average death toll for much of the past week nationwide. Still, there are over 1,200 people per day succumbing to the virus and each one of those is a real person with friends and families. It is just a tragic number.

Now that we have got through the holidays and our peak tourist weeks, it is time to double down on eradicating, as best we can, this current scourge. Vaccinations and boosters are still key in the effort and wearing masks, especially KN-95s, can help to keep us from either getting or giving the variant. And being careful in our group interactions is another critical element in the fight.

While many of us have already gotten the virus and survived, there are still more who have been able to stave off infections and wish to continue doing so. But all of us, every one of us, infected or not has had our lives changed by the impacts of the past two years. The messaging has been confusing since this started with just a few cases back in 2020 and that has not helped the country deal with its biggest community crisis since perhaps the second world war. Nor has the divisiveness of our political climate been helpful.

But going forward we all have a responsibility to do what is best for the community at large. These are challenging times for Aspen, the county, the state and our country. And yes, our world. If we have any chance of getting back to a place of normalcy, it would seem that doing our part now, until we can get out of this period of crisis, is essential.

I guess that is what I think as we approach the second anniversary of living in the pandemic.

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