Guest Column: We are all in this together

Listen to this post

What is the fundamental learning from COVID in recent weeks with rising numbers in nearly every state? How are we reacting and how are we managing this world-wide pandemic? How are we applying what we have learned to move forward?

It seems to me that we must learn that it is not about us, one individual, one family, or one community. If any community is safe and the next county or state or country is not, won’t this pandemic just keep spreading or re-occurring?

Yes, we can believe in the safe haven of our small community with few reported cases. Yet is every Rio Blanco County resident sheltering locally or are some folks traveling to wherever? And, what about the out of town visitors flocking to beautiful northwest Colorado for respite? Even if we take every precaution, outsiders can devastate our local presumed immunity.

As we now vividly see, situations across the USA that opened without following precautions have a huge number of new Covid cases. Those who flaunt the most basic of social distancing and mask wearing rules threaten us all. One person who travels from Denver then stops by Glenwood Springs for food or gas then arrives in Meeker can spread Covid like wildfire.

This is just a random example, but hopefully emphasizes the underlying concept that we are all in this together. If one part doesn’t support the whole, then the entire structure can come falling down. Ask any bridge engineer and they will tell you the same thing. But now, we are talking about human lives.

I surely agree that opening our economy in safe ways is a critical way forward and return to the new normal. In Meeker, I surely appreciate the dedicated sanitary and safe precautions of our grocery, hair salons, restaurants, and other small businesses. Likewise, our local medical facilities are a model of screening patients and staying safe. 

The current challenge is about how we citizens conduct our lives in these challenging times. Each person matters and what you choose to do or not do everyday matters to all the rest of us, including the entire world. It is a personal choice and up to each of us to make smart, informed decisions.

If we hope to conquer or even quell this pandemic, then we must live our lives thinking and behaving beyond ourselves. If folks in other states or countries are not safe, we are not safe. If locally we don’t practice good hygiene, masking, and social distancing then we put our neighbors, every state and every country at risk.

Doesn’t it send a harsh and instructive message that the European Union is opening but prohibiting Americans? They have learned lessons we have not and perhaps we should listen harder to how other countries have managed COVID far better than America.

Clearly COVID is not going away for us locally, our state, our country, or our world. Please do everything you can to help us and the world get over this pandemic. We truly are all in this together.

By KAYE SULLIVAN | Special to the Herald Times