Community Opinion: COVID Frustration

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Dear Governor,

I hope all is well as it can be in these trying times. Undoubtedly, you are busy and it seems that your frustration with the public is growing in response to the COVID-19 pushback you are getting.

Your position of shutdowns is a good measure, but your public advisors are missing the mark. Your position, while correct, is being poorly communicated. The public is growing wearisome of your message that comes across as insulting while lacking substantive details. The “knuckleheads” aren’t all as dumb as they are viewed.

Our public health gurus nationally, and in our state, are inconsistent. It starts with Fauci flip flopping on masks and ends with the Casper Star Tribune’s – and your – broad-sweeping statements, citing broad-sweeping statistics.

Masks are highly debatable. Areas with the most stringent mask mandates have statistically similar rates as does non mask wearing regions. The data is skewed and presented to indicate otherwise.

But, facts are facts.

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Including you, no one is taking a strong leadership role in Wyoming. We have Dr. Dowell at the Rocky Mountain Infections Disease dancing around like Gumbi trying to play a funny skit to get people to take flu shots. The Casper Star Tribune comes out with the daily scare stats meant to validate your position.

Your public advisors should be helping your office to report: 1) How many hospital beds are currently occupied with COVID patients in Wyoming? What percentage of capacity does that equate to? (Not untypical of hospitals running 80%+ capacity at times while generating revenue needed to be sustainable, but what percentage are COVID patients today?) 2) What percentage of ICU beds are COVID and what percentage of ICU beds are open in the state? 3) What percentage of all COVID-admitted patients escalate to ICU? 4) What is the average duration of stay for COVID patients in the general care level and same for ICU? 5) How many COVID deaths in Wyoming are due to the virus alone and how many had two or more comorbidities? 6) With your shutdowns, what is the bench marks of the hospital load that will be achieved before opening back up?

Specifics and substance is what your public message lacks. People know when they are being lied to and have been desensitized by your message, Fauci’s message, Casper Star Tribune’s daily scare numbers etc. The old saying “don’t piss down my back and tell me it’s raining” holds truth in many scenarios. Your plan is shutdown and wear masks but little to no action from our health people (i.e. larger regional hospitals in Wyoming have 25 or more administrative people attending work five days a week. These people primarily answer phone calls, emails and participate in WebEx meetings).

Logically the hospital admin support people are going to work in the place that all COVID patients end up. While working on different floors and not in direct contact with COVID patients, they are still showing up where the most patients congregate.

The hospital admin people providing support roles are generating large volumes of “point of contact” interactions at the hospitals and then co-mingling with family and community. Steps like having hospital admin working remotely from home can exponentially decrease points of contact in a day.

With more shutdowns likely needed, do not close the small businesses – small kitchen stores, toy stores, hardware stores, etc. All that does is congregate people more at the few stores left open. That indirect action results in more congregated interaction and potential exposure.

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Best of luck.

Brian Gifford



County 17 believes in the right to free speech. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the letter belong solely to the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of County 17.

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