Letter: We need to be ready for second wave of virus
Like all of us, I am delighted that levels of infection in Eagle County have gone down as far as they have. Congratulations to the county, the health department team, and to all of the medical professionals for helping to make this happen.
I am also delighted to see that there is serious consideration given to relaxing some of the rules that have been in place since the virus first appeared.
I am concerned, however, that the relaxation is going to give rise to the second wave of infections. In fact, I don’t think there can be any doubt that there will be a second wave of infections. Once travelers begin to return to our valley, infections will increase.
I am also concerned that we are not yet prepared for this second wave. Recent news articles are suggesting that infections began far earlier in the United States than was initially suspected. We did not detect this spread until many people had already been infected. We need to ensure that this does not happen again.
I believe that in order to relax the rules on commerce, we need to have a testing plan in place that will allow us to detect the spread of the virus before people are reporting symptoms and being admitted to hospitals.
Here in Eagle County, we have the ability to do that. Virtually everyone in the valley goes to our grocery stores. If we set up testing facilities at these stores, we can randomly test for the virus. If we were able to randomly test every 50th person who walks into Costco, City Market, and Safeway, we would be well-positioned to detect the re-entry of the virus into the valley.
The second wave of infection is undoubtedly coming. It might not be here before the summer tourist season, but it is best to prepare for it now. I urge the county commissioners to put in place mechanisms that will allow the detection of the virus before many people become ill.