Letter: A light at the end of the tunnel
I’m writing to add my two cents to Patrick Tvarkunas’ brilliant April 3 letter regarding the urgency and benefits of antibody testing. Antibody testing will provide a vital metric in determining what’s really going on in our community and also identify who can return to work. The focus so far has been on slowing the spread by social distancing and identifying who is sick so they can be isolated. Apparently a number of people have contracted the virus and didn’t suffer any symptoms. Testing for the virus has been woefully limited and slow, so we don’t really know how many of us have been infected. That number could be significant, but we can’t be sure without testing everyone for antibodies.
Patrick mentions that the testing in Telluride is being paid for by “private benefactors” in that community. That could happen here in Eagle County as well, but I would suggest local businesses take this on. Our large corporate neighbors, like Kroger, Safeway, Walmart, Walgreens, Home Depot, Vail Resorts, have the resources and ability to accomplish it here, and in every community where they do business.
Our local chambers of commerce, the Vail Board of Realtors, and philanthropic organizations like the Vail Valley Foundation could join in organizing an antibody testing effort as well. It’s clear to me that taking this on would be in their economic self interest. They should act as if we are at war, rather than sitting on the sidelines, waiting for government to do the testing. We can all see how that’s been turning out.
The antibody numbers will let us know when we can return to something near normal again. That will happen when the pandemic has affected enough of us to provide “herd immunity” for the most vulnerable in our community until a vaccine is available. Our medical community is stressed enough without having to take on additional testing.