Here’s what we’ve learned over the last four months.

When we went into lockdown, we reduced the spread of Covid-19. Those states that followed the CDC guidelines for opening back up continued to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and continue now on a downward slope of the number of cases. Those states that opened up before having met the CDC guidelines have sharply rising numbers of cases now.

We now know that the most common means of spread of Covid-19 is airborne transmission of virus particles. We know that asymptomatic spread can be more virulent than symptomatic spread and that, indeed, there are some “super spreaders” that are totally asymptomatic.

We know that certain activities and situations are particularly dangerous regarding the spread of Covid-19. Indoor venues where there are large numbers of people physically crowded together, increase the spread of Covid-19. Adding loud voices and/or singing increases the risk even further.

We now know that wearing a mask can greatly reduce the transmission of airborne virus particles and can also afford the wearer some protection from airborne virus particles from other people. We know that increasing the distance between people and reducing the volume and duration of speech can reduce the spread.

We know that if Covid-19 is on the rise in a community, many people in that community will not go back to shopping, eating out, attending sporting events, going to church or engaging in any activity that they feel is unsafe. That is, they will not participate in the economy in a normal fashion until they feel it is safe to do so.

There is a very simple economic conclusion here. If you want your economy to come back, you must reduce the spread of Covid-19. Whatever steps are taken that cause a reduction in the incidence of Covid-19 will ultimately serve to boost the economy. Simple, but ironic. All those who refuse to wear masks, socially distance, and avoid crowds are, in fact, killing the economy. That they are also killing other human beings seems less important to them.

If you doubt this, consider the fact that major companies are starting to require staff and customers to wear masks. Why? Because it is not economically sound to have widespread illness among employees and because customers will not spend money where they don’t feel safe. Want your economy back? Then wear a mask. Simple.

Tobey Miller, Fort Payne

Send letters to the Times-Journal by writing P.O. Box 680349, Fort Payne, AL 35968. Fax 256-845-7459. Email emily.kirby@times-journal.com.

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