Our View: Here’s to a job well done
After 14 months of mask orders and capacity restrictions, today is a day to celebrate, Eagle County.
We’ve worked exceptionally hard as a community to keep our health care system from being overwhelmed and to keep our schools and businesses open. And now, after months of vaccination clinics to get us to a point where at least 62% of the local population has gotten at least one dose, we’re finally ready to emerge from the last of the public health orders brought on by COVID-19.
Give yourself some props. We didn’t get here as a community without buy-in and grit and the majority of us working together for the greater good.
We’re ready to see those smiles today as masks come off. We’re excited for our local businesses, which have been battered by these restrictions, to be able to run at full strength. We can’t wait to gather and celebrate, whether it’s at a high school graduation, a live concert or just out and about around the valley as spring turns into summer.
Does this mean the pandemic is over? Sorry to disappoint, but no. That’s not the point of this editorial, and here’s why: About 600 Americans a day are still dying from the virus. That’s down from a peak of over 3,000 deaths per day for most of January, the lowest in 14 months, but it’s still a very grim reality.
Here in Eagle County, there were 19 new COVID-19 cases and one hospitalization reported last week. If nothing else, those numbers prove that we’re not free of COVID-19 and there’s still plenty of work to do.
That said, we have reached this important milestone, after months of work, and now it’s time for us to move on from these public health orders that have been in place to protect our community, especially our most vulnerable.
At the Vail Daily, we’re also moving on from some staples that readers have relied on these past 14 months. We’re pulling the daily COVID-19 tracker on the front page of the paper and on the home page of our website.
That doesn’t mean, as a news operation, that we’re going to stop tracking the virus in Eagle County, or reporting on it, but as our case counts have dropped here and our vaccination numbers have rapidly increased, the usefulness of these trackers has diminished — and each occupies valuable real estate that can be used to spotlight other reporting.
You can still continue to track cases and Eagle County’s COVID trajectory by going to eaglecountycovid.org.
We know this is a lot to process at once, and we urge empathy and compassion — two hallmarks of this community — as we all come to terms with this new reality. There’s so much excitement, but there is also real fear and anxiety from some who are struggling with the thought of reentering society after so many months of isolation.
For the vaccinated, we urge you to go ahead and live your life, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated. Be smart, but feel safe in knowing that your risk for getting the virus is minimal, as are the risks of getting seriously ill if you do happen to catch it.
If you’re among the unvaccinated, we urge you to consider the overwhelming body of scientific evidence that shows that these vaccines are safe — and that they are the only way that we’ll ever be able to fully liberate ourselves from this global pandemic.
If you still have questions about the vaccines, we urge you to go to eaglecountycovid.org to learn more and get information on clinic dates, times and locations. All clinics accept walk-in patients, but reservations are still accepted.
Lastly, there are still mask requirements in place at local schools, as well as federal regulations that still require masks when using public transportation, which includes ECO Transit and the Eagle County Regional Airport.
After how far we’ve come, we urge every community member to respect these mandates and to be respectful of those who are just doing their jobs enforcing them.
Be safe out there, and please be kind as we settle back into life as we once knew it here in this beautiful place we get to call home.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Digital Engagement Editor Sean Naylor, Business Editor Scott Miller and Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd.