Regular Vermonters are on the front line of the COVID-19 crisis and are our first line of defense. Health care and testing, as important as it is, is the second line of defense and contact tracing is the third line. Going forward with the COVID-19 recovery, it is important that all Vermonters have access to key data points so they can act intelligently and be more vigilant about social distancing, mask wearing, and self-isolation when there are outbreaks close to them. Not that any safety measures should be relaxed anywhere, nor should the people with the virus be revealed, we just need to know the areas of heightened concern. We need to see the data points, reported on a daily basis on www.Vermont.gov, so Vermonters, our first line of defense, can protect themselves and help stop the virus’ spread.
The total number of cases has become irrelevant. We need to know how many active cases there are and where those cases are located. Crucial data points are: the towns of active cases and where the outbreak is – A nursing or group home? Community home or town house? Hospital? Residential setting? We need to know the type of transmission. Where did the virus come from? Was it a local transmission or out-of-state transmission?
What was the probable location of the transmission: A family setting? A group setting? A retail store? A restaurant? An outside business? An inside business or manufacturing facility? A golf course, marina, farmer’s market, or state park? Or was the location of transmission unknown?
Vermonters are capable of fighting this virus with access to quality data so they can protect themselves with PPE – cloth masks – social distancing, and self-quarantining. Quarantining at home with other family members has been shown to spread the virus. It would be far better for people to quarantine by themselves or with others who have the virus at a state funded resort that is designated for COVID-19 patients.
The stay at home orders should be lifted and all businesses, including restaurants, should be allowed to open as long as they use PPE, wash hands, clean surfaces, and can maintain social distance. Mask wearing by employees and customers when social distancing cannot be guaranteed needs to be mandated by the governor. If particular businesses are found to be areas of transmission, they should be temporarily closed until a method for controlling the transmission can be found.
This virus will be with us for a long time – we need to fight it out in the open, while caring for those who are ill.
South Londonderry, Vt.