The good, the bad and the ugly |

The good, the bad and the ugly

Paul E. Anna
High Points

So how are you doing? I mean in terms of dealing with the pandemic. It’s a hard question for any of us to answer and I guess it comes down to your personal experience.

Let’s start by saying if you haven’t gotten the virus in the year and a quarter that it has been a part of our lives and you have already received your vaccination, then I guess that you are doing pretty darn good. You are one of the lucky ones. That is, unless you have lost someone to the scourge or your business went belly up. Then maybe things are not as good as they might appear on the surface.

There are so many variables with how our lives have changed that it is hard to compartmentalize what is good, bad and ugly. Good health is the one thing we all hope for but even those who have not been physically afflicted have had to deal with social, psychological, financial and other disruptions.

As a community, here in Aspen, it is also difficult to register just how we are doing. Town announced this week that we are moving back to Orange-level restrictions, which, depending on how you look at it, is a bad thing. It means our numbers are up and we will be facing more restrictions as we move forward. Schools are requiring tests for those who travel for spring break and masks will be a part of our long-term future with the “sunset” of May 1 being extended until who knows when.

But all of that shows that we as a community are taking this seriously. Rather than just saying that it is safe to go back in the water because we have not had a shark attack this week, we are exercising the kind of caution that resort communities often don’t. We are sacrificing what may be short-term prosperity in hopes that making the hard calls will result in us beating the potential surge of the pandemic. And that is a good thing.

The New York Times ran a story this week about a Dartmouth economics professor who looked at how the national media in America has covered the pandemic. He found that 87% of the coverage in the U.S. national media has focused on the negative.

Now, it’s true that a pandemic that has killed over half a million people is pretty darn negative, but the takeaway was that the national media, television and newspapers, both the liberal (MSNBC) and the conservative, here have placed a premium on reporting the bad news while eschewing the good. This is in contrast to scientific journals, which had 64% negativity in their reporting; regional American media, which had 53% negative reporting; and the international media, which was nearly split with 51% bad news and 49% reporting on the positive.

There is nothing more positive than the increase in vaccinations that are now available in the community. This week, there will be 12,000 Pitkin County residents who have received vaccinations with more getting them every day.

Let’s all try to focus on that.

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