Guest Editorial: Respect and unity: Follow my lead

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    Last spring, when the pandemic came to town, I attempted to encourage others by writing a couple of letters. Many of us believed it would run its course by winter, but we find ourselves in another wave of increased case numbers. 

    People are short on patience and tired of masks, social distancing, testing and isolation, and it’s not over yet. The division and anger generated during the political season, the social unrest and racial tensions make it even more difficult and confusing. 

    We are bombarded with information from sources that seem reliable, but are not. All of us should evaluate facts and search for truth, but I’m finding it difficult to decide who to trust. Maybe you can relate. For what it’s worth, here are some thoughts.

    COVID-19 is real. It may be the result of natural causes, or developed in a secret lab. I’ve heard believable theories for both, but there’s no substantiated evidence for either. 

    Science has undoubtedly established that viruses can be transmitted by droplets in coughs or sneezes, and passed to others by direct or indirect physical contact, or transferred through other organisms such as mosquitos or tapeworms. 

    Currently, researchers agree that the coronavirus is transmitted as the result of close contact with others who have been infected. Wearing masks, maintaining distance, avoiding social settings where close contact is unavoidable, frequent handwashing, avoiding touching mouth or nose, disinfecting surfaces, and staying home if exhibiting symptoms are strongly advised and/or required. 

    Some say wearing masks is the most effective way to prevent disease spread. Others believe drastically limiting social contact could stop the spread. Still others propose frequent handwashing and the disinfecting of surfaces as most effective. Some believe the best thing we can do is “shut down” nonessential business and discourage or prohibit social gatherings of any kind. Some say we must strictly enforce all regulations required by the authorities.

    Some experts tell us that masks worn by most provide very little protection because the virus can easily pass through the mask’s material. I’ve been told we should let the virus run its course because many who contract it get well after experiencing minor symptoms, just like any flu. They assert that only a small percentage actually die, and many of those are in high-risk categories, suffering from other serious medical issues, who would probably die if infected with a variety of other pathogens. 

    Many claim that the worst thing we can do is shut down our businesses since that causes more negative consequences than the disease itself. They claim the shutdown of our economy and forced isolation will lead to additional increases of domestic violence, suicide, mental health, other physical illnesses and social unrest resulting from another set of strict regulations. 

    Locals made changes, suffered setbacks and struggled through the first wave, but some firmly believe they won’t survive economically if forced to shut down again.

    It really doesn’t matter where you stand on these controversial issues. You probably won’t change your opinions, and others probably won’t change theirs. 

    We live in a small, but diverse, community. There are young and old; liberals and conservatives; the highly educated and those with limited schooling; the extremely rich and those with little income; the retired and those raising families who work hard to make ends meet; long-time residents and newcomers; those who want to be left alone and those who contribute much to the community; etc. However, most of us are here because we love this place. 

    So, is it possible to find unity in the midst of our diversity? I hope and pray it is.

    The front-page articles in last week’s SUN, “Spreading Kindness” and the one about the “Student-led Mindfulness Walk,” were very encouraging and thought-provoking for me. Therefore, I’m personally going to do my best to express love and understanding, especially to those who have differing opinions. I can listen better, empathize more, ask questions designed to seek clearer understanding, avoid assumptions, be kinder and continue to promote unity within our community. 

    I’ll respect those who wear masks religiously and those who don’t. I’m not afraid of contracting the disease; however, I pray I won’t infect another because I disregard their safety and welfare. I suggest we all do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 but show respect. I’ll treat people the way I want to be treated. I’m asking you to follow my lead.

    God bless you and your loved ones as we work thru these challenges together.

    Donald Volger

    Mayor