Opinion | Susan Knopf: Don’t worry, just mask | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Don’t worry, just mask


We’re not out of the woods yet. I was just notified that a fellow employee was diagnosed with COVID-19. The employee will stay home for 14 days, and anyone who worked with him will be quarantined for the next two weeks.

If you’ll permit a mixing of metaphors, there is light at the end of the tunnel. President Joe Biden tells us all adults will have the opportunity to be vaccinated by mid-May. That’s months ahead of the original projection for the end of summer.

Local Dr. Chris Ebert-Santos texted me, “That’s a miracle!” It’s an amazing, unprecedented scientific advancement. The speed with which we’ve arrived at this juncture explains why our officials and medical professionals simply don’t have all the answers. Each day is a new discovery, a new opportunity to learn, to make connections between pragmatic observation and the potential generalized value of anecdotal observation. Then we study more to find out if the observation really has application to the population.

The process is frustrating to people who just want answers and have come to believe that officials — whether in government, medical or business — are supposed to to know the answers. They don’t. They get access to better, unfiltered information than we get here in Summit County. Analysis of the information takes time, insight and collaboration with other experts. Only by duplicating the findings in yet another study, do scientists find a degree of certainty they are willing to share.

Thus the information we get has been out there for a while, perhaps not in our circles. Your cousin might have heard about it at his lab or brokerage firm. It’s important we do it this way so we don’t repeat the mistake of recommending hydroxychloroquine sulfate, which was only in the initial phase of testing when the former president started recommending its usage. It proved to have no real efficacy against COVID-19.

Now that we know we can get the vaccine by mid-May, can we all take a collective sigh of relief and reduce our anxiety?

The first question out of anyone’s mouth these days seems to be: “Are you vaccinated?” “Which vaccine?” “Have you gotten both doses?” “When are you getting your second dose?”

I received my first dose. I’m due for the second dose next week. I got a card to present to facilitate receiving that second dose. I’m not worried about this.

I’m a ski instructor. I sit on a chairlift next to a student who flew in on an airplane the day before the lesson. I cannot allow myself to create anxiety around this. I wear a mask. I’m outside. UV rays are a great disinfectant. No, I’m not always socially distanced. Sometimes, I have to adjust a helmet or a ski boot. We sit shoulder to shoulder on the ski lift. It is what it is.

A local doctor I know has received both vaccines and feels comfortable enough to travel on a plane for a family event. She and her husband will wear masks and face shields for their long flights. She said if she were not vaccinated, they would not be making the trip. She said it’s not just to protect herself but to protect loved ones when she arrives.

A colleague was very perturbed when the human resources department at her work failed to produce a letter she believed would be needed to demonstrate that she works with the public and thus qualifies for the vaccine. From everything I know, Colorado is running on the honor system. You just check the boxes. She would check the same box I did. She would check it because she is “in direct contact with the public.”

No worries. No anxiety. Make an appointment, show up, check the box, get vaccinated. Within just a couple of months, this will be one less thing to ponder. In the meantime, mask up, socially distance, wash your hands, get vaccinated and think about it less. Smile and enjoy another beautiful March in Summit County.

Susan Knopf’s column “For The Record” publishes Fridays in the Summit Daily News. Knopf lives in Silverthorne. She is a certified ski instructor and an award-winning journalist. Contact her at sdnknopf@gmail.com.

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