This editorial was published by the Idaho State Journal of Pocatello.
As the weather gets colder, pandemics peak.
That means more people getting sick and more people dying.
It’s no surprise then that with temperatures dropping in Idaho as winter takes hold that even locally dozens of people are contracting COVID-19, many of them are filling our hospitals to capacity, and the death toll is rising on a daily basis.
Amid this deteriorating situation, our government is left with the task of leading us and most importantly protecting us.
It’s been difficult with a president who’s discounted COVID-19’s impact at every turn and lumped it in with what he calls fake news. President Donald Trump’s take on COVID-19 has been unfortunately fueled by the medical experts struggling to understand this virus, how it kills and how it can be prevented.
But dealing with millions of sick Americans has provided the nation’s medical community with a growing list of measures on how to combat the coronavirus — one of which is the wearing of masks — and every day our medical professionals are learning a little bit more to decipher the mystery that is COVID-19.
Still, there are too many of us who don’t take COVID-19 seriously and don’t believe the virus has killed more than 250,000 of their fellow Americans.
The conspiracy theorists and flat-out naysayers have created such an alternate reality surrounding COVID-19 that some coronavirus victims are literally going to their graves saying that the virus isn’t real.
Our government is left in the difficult position of dealing with this crisis.
Here in Idaho, it hasn’t been easy because at every turn any government official or entity trying to take this pandemic seriously is met with resistance.
But make no mistake about it, COVID-19 is real and it’s deadly.
Those who see things like the Pocatello City Council’s mask mandate as something akin to the government confiscating their firearms are flat out wrong.
We strongly encourage our government — from those who lead our local cities, counties and school districts to our state’s leaders such as Gov. Brad Little — to treat this scourge with the seriousness it demands.
Implementing a citywide mask mandate was no easy task for the Pocatello City Council but it was without a doubt the right choice. Even before the vote, there were protesters outside of Pocatello City Hall decrying the move. But the city council made the correct decision to tell those protesters and all of the other virus detractors that they’re wrong and wearing masks is something we can all do to stop the spread of COVID-19 and literally save lives.
The alternative to our government taking this virus seriously is more sick and dead people.
That’s the undeniable truth.
Our advice to government leaders throughout our state and our nation is that it’s time to take the Pocatello City Council’s lead and start protecting us.
It’s long overdue for our government leaders to move beyond trying to thread the needle on every decision to not upset virus deniers.
Idahoans should not have to pay the price for those who either believe COVID-19 is a manufactured myth or that our government should literally abdicate its duty and do nothing in the face of a pandemic that’s already killed more Americans than those who died in battle during World War I, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined.
These are not the days of March and April when few of us knew anyone who had contracted COVID-19.
Nowadays, we all know people who’ve been afflicted and many of us know people who’ve died from this virus.
The time for being polite about preventing COVID-19 has passed.
Any government official who doesn’t understand that by now literally has blood on his hands.
And the argument can be made that anyone who refuses to wear a mask does, too.