The difference between the pandemic last February and today is that we know what we are dealing with, it’s not an unknown, which is why the death rate is down as the case load explodes. We also know how it spreads and by whom, which is a problem for the naysayers who can no longer point fingers, or make up excuses.

That knowledge is a good thing, as we are seeing with Gov. Phil Scott’s push to ban multi household gatherings, a decision that is decidedly unpopular as we approach the holidays. But what is preferred, a shutdown of the economy, like what was done last spring, or keeping the economy open but asking people to refrain from multi-family gatherings?

The naysayers have pushed back saying it makes no sense to keep schools open, or restaurants, or gyms, or retail establishments while banning social gatherings.

Except for this: The facts say otherwise.

The explosion in new Covid-19 cases is not coming from schools. It’s not coming from gyms. Or restaurants. Or retail establishments. Or tourists. Or from our out-of-state college students.

Over 70 percent of the outbreaks have been directly linked back to personal social events, adults deciding to have parties, or gatherings of any sort. Events at which social distancing and mask wearing were not closely observed, to say the least.

So why would anyone think it is preferable to shut down businesses, or our schools, rather than to deal with the problem, which is essentially Covid fatigue to the nth degree?

They can’t.

As tired as we may be of the virus and the conformance required of us all, the benefit of that compliance far outweighs the consequences of spiraling case loads and the potential for an economic shutdown. A pared down Thanksgiving and Christmas is a small price to pay in comparison to the potential disaster we face if the governor’s ban is ignored.

In Mr. Scott’s Tuesday’s address, he also took on the contrarians when he said: “…the skeptics are right. They can do what they want. But please don’t call it patriotic or pretend it’s about freedom. Because real patriots serve and sacrifice for all, whether they agree with them or not. Patriots also stand up and fight when our nation’s health and security is threatened, and right now, our country and way of life is being attacked by this virus, not the protections we put in place.”

That’s pitch perfect. Perhaps that’s why he was just reelected by one of the largest margins in state history. He ripped the hide from the naysayers’ argument, exposing them as being more concerned about themselves and their wants than the needs of others.

The governor obviously has no patience for selfishness, or people twisting facts to justify their behavior, which also helps explain why this Republican governor voted Democratic in this month’s presidential election.

The other difference between nine months ago and today is that, remarkably, we have the promise of vaccines in the near future. As Dr. Fauci has said, the results from the vaccine tests have exceeded his highest expectations; he says there is light at the end of the tunnel.

That not only gives us hope, but a semblance of a time line. If we know the vaccines are near, we can hold on. It’s not knowing that exhausts us.

The governor is right. We’ve done this before and we can do it again. We just have to accept the responsibility and to party virtually.

by Emerson Lynn

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