Wear the mask
Y’know, this mask thing is getting a little silly.
Here’s the deal: Wearing a mask is not about protecting yourself. It’s also not about politics or toughness or shame. I wear a mask when I’m around people for the same reason that, when I have the flu or a cold, I stay away from the gym and restaurants and so on: I would really rather not give whatever nastiness I may have to someone else. It’s called “caring.”
I personally don’t worry a lot about getting COVID-19. For one thing, I don’t think I’ll die from a coronavirus because my mother always told me I was born to be hung. But, mostly, I don’t worry about it because, guess what, we’re pretty much all going to get it, eventually. That’s what a pandemic is: Until there’s a vaccine or until we reach herd-immunity, we’re all sitting ducks, and worrying about a certainty is a bit pointless. Being careful and considerate is not pointless.
That’s what masks and social distancing and so on are about: being careful and considerate. They’re also about trying to keep the caseload down to a reasonable level until the health industry and the government can catch up, until they can find or develop drugs that help, figure out the best ways to keep sick folks alive, invent that vaccine, etc. It’s really hard to do that kind of stuff when all your doctors and nurses are overwhelmed, exhausted, and/or dying.
Businesses and industries are starting to open up, and maybe that’s great: I know folks are hurting bad from the shutdown, which is why I’m doing what I can to support The Cove and other worthy do-gooders. But I, personally, will be avoiding businesses that don’t have health policies that make sense, and that means using masks and keeping the crowds down as feasible. If it means driving an extra few miles, so be it. I just prefer giving my money to people who care.
Alan Fahnestock, Winthrop
Thanks for support
I would like to extend my thanks to the Methow Conservancy for their support of local farms and farmers during the closures due to COVID-19. When the challenge of safely marketing our food and farm products to our customers arose this spring, the Conservancy stepped up to help. Agricultural coordinator Alyssa Jumars worked to organize and implement a safe environment for about a dozen vendors to sell our products. If you have visited the market this spring, you know that you can pre-order your food which includes fresh greens, goat cheese, grass-fed meats, honey, sourdough bread, pickles, kraut and beautiful garden starts.
We appreciate the coordinated approach to safely getting fresh food to our customers; the support and sales have been overwhelmingly positive.
Thank you Methow Valley for the teamwork and the love.
Kelleigh McMillan, Red Shed Produce, Twisp
Sign of caring
It is a known fact there have been/are cases of COVID-19 in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County.
It is a known fact that some people experience very mild cases and other cases are so severe they lead to death.
It is a known fact that some people can have COVID-19 and not even know it because they have absolutely no symptoms.
So that means any time you’re not wearing a face mask, and you stand a couple feet away talking to someone else who is not wearing a face mask, both of you could be passing COVID-19 on to the other person. And then on to your families when you get home.
So why would you not want to wear a face mask in public? Why take the chance of contracting COVID-19 or infecting others?
Can anyone give me one logical reason for not wearing a face mask when you’re out and about? If you’re going to say you have a Constitutional right not to, don’t bother. Back in 1905 the Supreme Court said you actually don’t (Jacobson v Massachusetts).
This pandemic is truly a World War; it can affect every single person on the planet. During a war such as this we need to be united in our efforts to win each battle, not divided and fighting among ourselves. Choose to be a warrior in this battle. Choose to wear a face mask in public.
Wearing a face mask is a sign of caring. It says I care enough about my fellow beings to not want to pass on a potentially lethal infection that I may not know I carry. It says I am willing to sacrifice some small personal freedom for the good of others. Please. Wear a face mask in public. I for one, will continue to wear one until our health experts say it is no longer needed.
Patti Nordby, Winthrop
Haven for commissioner
The Methow Valley is lucky to have two choices for the District 2 county commissioner position.
Katie Haven is running as a Democrat against the Republican incumbent. She has attended the commissioners’ meeting for more than four years and knows the county’s issues and what has been accomplished and what has not. And, most importantly, she wants to represent all the residents of the county.
Check out Haven’s website — http://www.katiehaven.com — where she provides her experience, issues, and desires to hear from all of us in order to tackle and resolve the important matters that address our current worries like wildfires, water availability, and land management policies. On many levels, people know that our current quality of life is at risk if we don’t address and adapt to new realities successfully. Katie’s “1,000 Voices” campaign is our opportunity to share concerns and ideas for our future. Here is a candidate asking us what needs to be done.
This is an important year for all of us to vote. Voting in the primary is important, especially at the state level where multiple candidates are running for statewide office. At the local level — county and town — our vote is even more significant because these officials have the most direct impact on our lives. Sitting on the sidelines gives your voice to a person who does vote.
The Methow Valley’s District 2 has a diverse population of long-time residents and more recent arrivals, but both share an equal love for the Methow Valley and its future. Katie is qualified to represent all of us. Consensus, compromise and leadership are needed now. A professional woman farmer would be an asset to our county as it creates a new future that embraces everyone.
Be sure to vote and vote early.
Sharon Sumpter, Winthrop
It’s going to be a tough time for so-called “property rights” advocates to figure out what that means in our changing world. Do you have to live full-time in the Methow to have the right to live on or even visit your property? Should we ask the governor to wall off the highways to keep out part-timers and tourists?
Recent stories in the Methow Valley News and elsewhere highlight that development will be increasing. People want to get out of the big cities and move to supposedly safer rural areas. COVID-19 has increased this desire. Many Methow residents want greatly expanded high-speed internet coverage in places now poorly served. That will also mean more development, as big-city folks find it easier to move here and telework.
More development also means more pressure on our limited supply of water. That supply is already threatened by climate change. We are going to have more droughts and less snowpack than in the past. What does that do to the property rights of long-term and more recent but full-time residents? Many of us already know people whose wells have run dry in some years by summer’s end.
What about planning for increasing fire danger? Will we insist that new construction be “fire-wise,” or is that too much of an infringement on property rights? Should we expect our mostly volunteer firefighters to risk their lives to save houses built for style rather than fire safety?
These aren’t rhetorical questions. All of these issues need to be dealt with in the Comprehensive Plan and zoning regulations being reviewed and revised now by the county commissioners. The 2014 version did not deal with them.
We have elections coming up for two of the three commissioner positions. They will decide on the new Comp Plan for Okanogan County. We all need to insist on concrete answers from these candidates on how the county will manage the expected new growth. The answers are important, if not critical, for our future as a healthy, thriving community.
Randy Brook, Twisp
I cycled out Boulder Creek Road Saturday and was shocked to see multiple groups of 8-12 and more people camping together and sharing communal breakfast in the flat spaces along the river. Most likely visitors, I suppose, and definitely not social distancing.
The health of each of us here in our lovely little rural valley depends on everyone acting responsibly, both residents and visitors. That includes practicing social distancing, enhanced handwashing, and wearing masks in indoor public places. By failing to do so, you put yourself at risk and thus others as well.
We’re all in this together, folks, and we stand or fall together.
Kurt Snover, Winthrop
Good guys wear masks
It used to be masks were worn by the bad guys — bank robbers, thieves and other criminals. COVID-19 has changed that mindset. Scientists found wearing masks can help slow the spread of the virus by containing the aerosol droplets of asymptomatic carriers. The Centers for Disease Control estimated approximately one third or 33% of the people spreading the virus do not show symptoms of the disease and are asymptomatic. They are the lucky ones. The unlucky ones are those who contract COVID 19 because of these people.
Wearing a mask shows you care about your fellow Americans. It’s a patriotic action we can all take to slow this pandemic. Masks protects others, not you. We need to set the standard to wear masks where we shop, work and interact. If we wear masks, it encourages others to wear one and helps prevent the viral spread.
Memorial Day weekend brought many visitors to the Methow. Our local businesses need tourists to remain viable but we don’t want additional COVID cases. Let’s show our valley visitors that Methow Valley residents care about each other and we care about them. Do the right thing and wear a mask. Be a good guy!
Nancy Kuta, Mazama
What my mask says
As I move cautiously through the world these days I can’t help but notice two categories of folks: those who wear face coverings and those who do not, and I wonder about the motivations for both of these groups.
The Centers for Disease Control, Washington State Department of Health, and Okanogan County Health Department (among many others) tell us that wearing a face-covering helps prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus and this is born out historically and in real-time statistics. But I also hear skepticism about the effectiveness of face coverings and push back from folks who feel that it is an infringement on their rights or that they believe in helping along the development of herd immunity.
We could argue the validity of any opinions ad nauseum but for me the issue is simple. I wear a mask to show respect, compassion and caring.
My mask tells anyone who sees me that I care about their safety and their mask tells me the same. Equally, or perhaps more importantly, my face covering is a symbol that I stand in solidarity with the millions of people whose losses are truly great; the loss of lives and the horrendous disproportionate burden being born by people of colors; the loss of jobs and small businesses that provide the income for shelter and food for oneself or the family; the health care workers who put their lives on the line to heal the sick and who hold the hands of those who are dying alone; the essential workers who show up day in and day out to make sure the rest of us can buy food and other necessities of life; the collective struggle of everyone who is staying home and suffering from loneliness, fear, and angst. It is a statement that I stand in solidarity for the belief that health care should be for all people and not a privilege that is tied to wealth or employment. My face-covering does so much more than just keeping my breath to myself.
Mary Yglesia, Methow
Let’s be better
The bulletin boards and social media have lit up recently, weighing in with lots of very strong opinions about what businesses ought or ought not to be doing right now.
So for perspective: Even under normal circumstances, business owners don’t thoughtlessly open their doors for business. When you run a business, you have inventory to plan for, staff to manage, cash flow to manage, fluctuations in supply and demand, the future of the business at stake. You lie awake at night thinking about these things. The business represents the owners’ life savings, their bread and butter, their future. The business needs a healthy town, a healthy patronage, a healthy flow of business. So those who think business owners haven’t thought through what they’re doing right now don’t understand much about running a business.
Businesses will be making decisions based on the best information they have available, and they won’t all make the same decisions. My recommendation is to patronize businesses with which you feel comfortable; avoid those with which you are not comfortable; and trust that, yes, all business owners are in this for the long haul and have the long-term health of the community at heart. But please don’t start carrying a grudge toward businesses with whom you disagree.
In the vein of charitable neighborliness, can we all put a little extra effort into presuming the best about one another rather than assuming the worst? And sharing kinds words with one another, rather than bitter?
When I am tempted to say, “What was so-and-so thinking?” I would do well to remember that the answer is, “I don’t know.” The best (and perhaps quaintly old-fashioned) remedy for that question is to talk directly with the person you have an issue with, not gossip on social media (or in private).
None of us knows what the right course of action is right now; anyone who believes they do know is simply wrong as these are uncharted waters. We are all just doing our best with the information we have in very difficult times.
Crisis is always a catalyst for great change. Let’s choose to change for the better, shall we?
Greg Wright, Winthrop