On Monday of this week I decided to write this letter about the loss I feel about the number of COVID-19 deaths in Wyoming. On that day, the Wyoming Department of Health reported that 955 Wyoming citizens had died of COVID-19. On Wednesday the Wyoming Department of Health reported that 996 Wyoming citizens had died of COVID-19. During those 48 hours of my normal life, 41 more of my Wyoming neighbors died.
There appears to be no public outcry about this loss of lives. Doesn’t anyone care that nearly 1,000 Wyoming residents are no longer with us? Perhaps a different perspective might activate our emotions. Using 2020 Census data, this is what the deaths of 996 Wyomingites really mean:
- None of the residents in any of these Wyoming towns would be with us: Lost Springs (4), Van Tassel (17), Riverside (53), Hartville (60), Manville (83), Kirby (84), Dixon (94), Bairoil (97), Opal (109), Manderson (112), Granger (128), and Yoder (156). Total 997.
- All the residents in Dayton (830), or Alpine (937), or Dubois (965) would have perished.
- One out of every 582 persons in Wyoming will have died of COVID-19 by this weekend, though we have vaccines and other preventative measures (masks, for example) to prevent such deaths.
Where are our leaders, who we might expect would at least voice their concern, if not outrage or grief, about this loss? These voices seem to be limited to declaring that Wyoming will spend its diminished resources to bringing a lawsuit against the Biden administration and organizing a special legislative session to show Wyoming’s outrage -- not at the loss of our neighbors, but at federal vaccination mandates.
Wyoming is a politically conservative, even libertarian-leaning, state. That’s fine. I’m not concerned about who my neighbors vote for. My concern is the loss of those neighbors. I am heartbroken that our misguided belief in individual and states’ rights has blinded us to the devastation that has resulted from a selfish conservatism that believes that one person’s “rights” outweigh the lives of 1,000 of their neighbors.
MAGGI MAIER MURDOCK, Casper