On March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared a national emergency. Governor Gordon declared a state emergency. I cried. For Wyoming residents nursing ones who were denied visits from family and friends. For family who were denied, not only visits, but goodbyes, to loved ones.
At the end of April, the President of the United States delegated the powers to assess the needs for health orders to the state level. By then, we had established that our hospitals were not overwhelmed. We had learned who the high- and low-risk populations were, and the high-risk individuals knew how to protect themselves. The common practice for surgeons to wear masks was extended to the whole medical care profession and COVID-19 patients were isolated. Still, in Wyoming, health orders were maintained.
Businesses, churches and schools continued to be shut down. Seniors were denied the graduations they so deserved and looked forward to. Town celebrations were cancelled or scaled down. Why?
We have not been hurt by COVID-19 itself but by the health orders. We understand the Department of Health’s role in continuing to monitor the situation and we are thankful for the health guidelines it provides. What we do not understand are the orders. The health, safety and welfare, of all citizens should be weighed against health orders. Guidelines allow high-risk individuals to protect themselves and low-risk individuals to continue engaging in all activities that keep them financially, physically and emotionally healthy. Orders on the other hand, by reaching for an unattainable zero COVID-19 case goal, are not.
GENEVIEVE BRIAND, Byron
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