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Monday, July 4, 2022

POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Should Colorado consider another mask mandate? | Opinion

POINT: Bill Murray

Mandate — an official order or commission to do something, usually as a result of a tragic flaw, moral weakness, or inability to cope with unfavorable circumstances.

“While we desperately want to be done with this pandemic, COVID-19 is clearly not done with us and so, our battle must last a little longer,” Walensky (CDC director) said during a White House Covid briefing. “This is hard. This is heavy. We are in this together. And as we learn more about COVID, we continue to rely on proven ways to protect ourselves, our children and our loved ones.”

Another mask mandate is a must, even as we have proven that the vaccine works. The truth of the matter is that the Delta variant spreads as easily as chickenpox and even vaccinated people in high-transmission areas (El Paso county) are at risk. The national outlook is worsening quickly, with a four-fold increase in new cases per day over the last month. The seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. surpassed the peak seen last summer when the nation didn’t have an authorized COVID-19 vaccine.

Our politicians, in conjunction with Public Health, should be all about protecting the innocent. But political reticence due to constituent complaints or perceived economic hardship is hampering our ability to use common sense in getting control of this virus. Let’s face it – Mixed messages get mixed results. Our messages should be clear and unambiguous. While this mandate cannot for practical purposes enforce the process, it sets the standard, protects those who want to do the right thing and warns of consequence. Letting this virus propagate and take its own course is a recipe for disaster. The innocent, THOSE WHO CANNOT GET VACCINATED, are the ones that will reap the results of our inaction.

Mask/Vaccine hesitancy has a long tradition in many parts of the world. It’s rooted in often understandable, if not always justifiable, suspicion of new science or wariness of political authority. Some experts argue that forced mandates in the current atmosphere of Western politics may only backfire. The problem is the current concerns, policies and honor system are going unheeded. CDC clearly requested all unvaccinated persons to wear masks when indoors.

This clearly was not done.

Every child learns at a young age that when we cut ourselves, we should clean the wound and put a band aid on it. It allows the wound to heal and protects it from infection. Consider the mask as our band aid. It restricts transmission and allows us to heal.

The central issue is that people want to put the pandemic and the virus behind them.

The governing logic is that the greater the numbers of those who get vaccinated, the greater the chance to minimize spread and to restrict conditions that could lead to an even more virulent coronavirus mutation. To avoid lockdowns, people will have to do things that they won’t necessarily want to do, such as wearing masks at indoor gatherings even if they’re vaccinated and having kids mask up in schools.

Most of us have had vaccinations sometime in our past. We tend to not give credit to these, because we did not get the disease. We are now faced with the dilemma of controlling a fast-moving virus. Control of which is contingent on vaccination, which has been proven successful, but also mask wearing to prevent outbreaks.

The only way to stop this virus is to starve it! The virus’ unpleasant surprise is that it lets us create new variants, but only if we let it. Vaccinate and MASK UP! Our community applauds your efforts in everyone’s behalf.

COUNTER: Matt Knoedler

It’s hard to keep up with the latest developments, but let’s see if we can agree on a few baseline facts.

• A new COVID variant is spreading particularly fast.

• Your recent COVID vaccination helps keep you protected from a serious case but may not prevent you from getting a mild case or spreading the virus.

• At least 70 percent of your neighbors are vaccinated (a percentage that can only increase) while others carry antibodies from catching COVID itself.

• Immunocompromised people, and those over the age of 70, may want to take extra precautions in high-transmission areas.

The situation described above is true today, will be true in December, and true a decade from now. People can always take extra precautions if they choose, but we need to learn how to return to a normal life.

Some are calling for a new statewide mask mandate, even for the vaccinated — the classic “belt and suspenders” justification. The most generous interpretation of available peer-reviewed studies, and even government statements, indicate that cloth masks barely work, and only in limited indoor scenarios. If vaccines are the belt, masks are suspenders made out of well-cooked spaghetti.

Rather than wearing an ineffective mask, I want to advocate that Coloradans embrace “vaccines” of an additional variety. As with the COVID vaccine, you might still catch a “virus,” but you’re less likely to get a serious case.

The Fear “Vaccine”: Fear is a virus that spreads within the unknown. Each time we confront the unknown we get vaccinated. Every day since the lockdown was lifted, someone gets a Fear Vaccine by entering a public place filled with people for the first time and lives to tell the tale. Soon, a trip to the store or the school gymnasium is not a dangerous mission into a threat vector. It’s normal life, once again.

The Isolation “Vaccine”: You feel the shot the first time you shake a friend’s hand, or hug a long-separated family member.

We cannot deny, or minimize, the health benefits of human interactions — a hug, a handshake, or that most contagious of conditions: a smile. Masks and lockdowns are barriers to receiving an isolation vaccine.

The Unreasonable and Unhealthy “Vaccine”: You pass a lone runner, masked, on the open space trail. “Wait!” you say, as the Unreasonable Vaccine begins to take effect. “There’s no data anywhere that supports the need to mask while exercising outdoors! In fact, it’s really bad for your health — even the World Health Organization says so!” Compared to a lockdown, masks seemed reasonable.

But with the vast majority of the population carrying some level of COVID resistance, the cost of compliance far exceeds the risks of noncompliance.

The Hyperbole “Vaccine”: Did a politician claim their mandates would save lives, but soon you discover that the Free State next door reported the same hospitalization rates? Did you notice that the government just moved the pandemic goal posts without justification, and you know tell they will again? Congratulations, you got the hyperbole vaccine! (Caution: Side effects include headaches.)

Masks are more likely to precipitate an outbreak of Fear and Isolation, as well as Unreasonable and Unhealthy behavior.

All of these conditions can be cured, but we need your help to stop the spread! Help to inoculate your friends, neighbors, and especially any officials calling for a mask mandate.

A fully vaccinated person knows that life is full of dangerous contagions. And we should live it anyway!

Bill Murray is an At-Large Representative on the City of Colorado Springs Council. Matt Knoedler is a former Colorado state representative and the co-founder and CEO of CaucusRoom.com, an online community for conservatives to gather, encourage and engage locally.

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