Letter to the editor: End burdensome ‘coronaphobia’ restrictions in Summit County
Thank you for shining a light on the human cost of coronavirus restrictions on people like Neyra Lopez. Summit County is in the grip of “coronaphobia,” a persistent irrational fear of situations that could spread coronavirus leading to a compelling desire to avoid them. Extreme restrictions were imposed in March after serious outbreaks in New York and other urban centers and when the disease was not well-understood. Fear-driven restrictions were imposed in “an abundance of caution” to prevent medical facilities from being “overwhelmed” by a wave of cases.
Coronavirus is having a negligible impact on Summit County. In our population of 31,000 we have had:
- 2-4 cases per day
- 32 hospitalizations, none requiring a ventilator since mid-May
- Two deaths
Our health care system is not being overwhelmed. The risk of encountering Coronavirus here is negligible.
- Assuming four cases per day and a 14-day infectious period, we have about 56 active cases on any given day.
- If none of the infected people self-quarantines as they should, your chance of encountering an infected person in public on any given day is .0018 or 1.8 in 1,000. If you practice reasonable self-protective measures like wearing a mask and avoiding contact with strangers, they are less than that.
- You are very unlikely to be hospitalized or die of coronavirus.
Are all the county’s coronavirus restrictions, with their huge adverse socio-economic impacts, worth it? Restrictions assume, against the probabilities, that anyone you encounter could have infectious coronavirus. By how much will restrictions reduce the risk of getting coronavirus from 1.8 in a thousand? Down to 1.5 in a thousand? One in a thousand? Less than 1.0 in a thousand?
Let’s end the coronaphobia-driven restrictions on the number of people in a given space and simply say masks and distancing rules should be observed.
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