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LETTER: A COVID-19 pandemic analogy

Why should we allow this virus to stick around and keep mutating


I’m a skier. Anybody who knows me knows that. I’ve been telemark skiing for about 35 years. Then when some friends and I started skiing in the back country we were pretty ignorant of the hazards and pitfalls, but we were lucky and nothing really bad happened.

I think I was among the first group to participate in an avalanche course sponsored by Red Shred’s Bike and Board Shed. It was an eye opener.

These days avalanche gear is pretty well accepted… not too many people are willing to ski in the mountains with someone who is not equipped with a shovel, probe and locator beacon to find and dig them out if they are unlucky enough to be buried in an avalanche.

I’m now 74 years old. My last really good trip back country skiing was four years ago with my son in law and a friend of his … both experienced mountain skiers.

When we got out to the cabin I discovered that I had my beacon but had forgotten my shovel. There was no spare in the cabin. I felt like an old idiot. I was ready to sit out two days of skiing when my son in law said, “Well I guess you get first tracks today.”

I asked him why and he said, “We can dig you out but you can’t dig us out.”

Everyone wants first tracks on a powder day, so even though I felt a little guilty I gladly accepted. The snow was new with a good base and about 18″ deep, I had some of the most fun turns I can remember. After a couple of runs we knew the snow was stable so things got back to normal.

The other day I was thinking about vaccines and it occurred to me that if I had said to my ski partners: “I don’t think I’m going to take my shovel because I’m old and it’s a pain, and it’s heavy… if I get caught in an avalanche you guys can dig me out,” they’d have told me to pound sand, and rightfully so.

So I’m thinking that is not so different from those of us who are eligible and able to get immunized against a really nasty virus that has killed millions, but won’t do it for one reason or another, and are willing to let the rest of us take up the slack to try to reach herd immunity.

I was talking to a young friend the other day and asked him if he was vaccinated and he said you bet he was but lots of his friends weren’t. They couldn’t be bothered because their families and others around them were immunized. This seems more than a little bit selfish to me.

We are officially into a fourth wave with the Delta variant and it looks like it will be a pandemic of the unvaccinated. I’m getting more than a little concerned.

I don’t know why we should allow this virus to stick around and keep mutating until it turns into something we can’t fight.

We didn’t allow Smallpox, Polio and Measles to kick our butts, we did what needed to be done. Now we have people protesting outside of hospitals… what’s up with that?

My Mom is going to be 101 on her next birthday in November, she has been double vaccinated with no ill effects, not even a sore arm.

She’s had every immunization that’s been offered to her including the flu vaccine every year. She still gets around on her own and can carry on a lucid conversation… so no long term negative effects from all those vaccines that we can see. On the other hand if she had contracted COVID it’s not likely she would have survived.

So, if you forget your shovel at home it may work out for you, but it’s definitely not a good idea.

Flip Blake


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