John Colson: My Corona — an occasional diary, episode 1
Hit & Run
April 5, 2020 — Well, I’ve given in. I’ve started wearing a face mask and plastic gloves when I go out shopping, or strolling, or visiting, and I expect I’ll even wear them when I start my warm-weather bicycling exercise program.
I’ve been wearing gloves of some sort ever since the coronavirus pandemic got started, at least when I’m out and among the madding crowd, because I was convinced that the easiest way to get infected was through my hands. At the same time, I stuck with an early analysis that concluded that masks don’t do much to stop you from breathing in little bits of virus if they’re floating in the air around you.
But the views about the efficacy of masks in stopping the viral bits in their tracks has been changing, and I’ve decided that even if a mask is not that effective at keeping out the virus, I’d rather err on the side of caution.
Plus, just in case I’m one of those who has been infected but don’t know it and are asymptomatic, I find myself agreeing with the cautionary advice that a mask can help keep me from spreading the disease if I have it.
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So I’m now a COVID fashionista, following a global dress code.
At almost 69 years of age, I’m among the so-called “vulnerable population” of citizens older than 65, though the fact is I don’t feel all that vulnerable. I’m in fairly good shape, my immune system has proven to be pretty hardy over the years, and since retiring I’ve become something of a house-bound, work-from-home columnist.
I have a feeling that a lot of my neighbors in the Roaring Fork Valley, which is one of the healthiest spots in the U.S., feel the same, which may perversely be part of the problem we all face during the mounting COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
Because, you see, I’m also part of the baby boomer generation, which has long been known as a generation that see itself as collectively invincible in far too many ways.
But, back to the preventative measures we’re all being urged to follow: As I noted above, I’m wearing a mask and gloves, I’m washing my hands after I go out, and I’m obeying the “social distancing” regimen recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and health experts.
I note with disgust that nine states — the two Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, Arkansas and South Carolina — had not put in place the kinds of statewide stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines that have been enacted in the other 41 states, and that for some reason all of these noncompliant states are run by Republican politicians, who presumably are following their leader, our president, down the coronavirus rabbit hole.
I cannot help but wonder what the residents in those unfortunate states will be saying in a few weeks if, as has been predicted, they end up with a higher infection rate and death toll than states that follow the guidelines.
Another note of disgust entered the conversation over the weekend, when Colorado Gov. Jared Polis revealed that Colorado was just about to order hundreds of desperately needed ventilators — the gear that helps patients breathe and survive the disease spawned by the virus — but that Colorado’s order was blocked when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “swooped” into the game and took our ventilators away.
Wait a second, I thought President Donald Trump recently assured us that there were plenty of ventilators to go around.
Of course, he also basically acknowledged a shortage of the equipment when he earlier told the states they were on their own and shouldn’t expect any help from the feds.
But this latest outrage puts a whole new light on matters.
According to some news outlets, Colorado’s ventilators were snatched up and sent to New York, which admittedly needs them badly and is the site of the most concentrated outbreak of the virus.
But if FEMA, which is under Trump’s thumb, was ordered to yank the ventilators out from under Colorado’s order, why might that be? It can’t be just because Colorado was one state that did not vote for Trump in 2016, can it?
I guess that’s in line with his decision to pointedly not wear a face mask while addressing the public, though Colorado’s governor, Mr. Polis, did the opposite and donned a mask during a news briefing as encouragement for the public to do the same.
President Polis, anyone?
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