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With COVID-19, luck is not plan

Apr 5, 2020 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

The Fremont County coronavirus community - which means pretty much anybody who is awake at the moment - is taking pride in the knowledge that while we have been at or near the top of the list in the sheer number of coronavirus infections in Wyoming, there still has not been a single confirmed coronavirus death.

The same could be said for Wyoming, which is seeing its number of infections rise steadily but has yet to confirm a coronavirus death.

Except, of course, we have had a coronavirus death.

We just haven't proved it, or even tried to necessarily.

What we have not had, officially, is the death of someone who had been tested, confirmed as COVID-infected, had become symptomatic, and whose case had been tracked from start to finish in the coronavirus protocol.

But that doesn't mean no one in Wyoming has died from this thing.

Two more points on that issue: First, this false sense of no-death security that many of us are allowing to occupy our minds won't last long. That official confirmed death is just around the corner, and more will follow. Even lowball estimates predict about 150 deaths confirmed in the coming months.

Clinically speaking, it's certain that deaths are coming. There's no reason to believe that Wyoming, somehow, would be spared. We are special in some ways, but not in this one.

Second, and it is related closely to the first, there simply have not been very many coronavirus tests in Wyoming. So, if we embrace some kind of false pride, security, comfort or other emotionally encouraging feeling, the truth is that had testing been widely available since February -- say, for example, the way strep throat testing is available in our public schools -- our coronavirus count wouldn't be 200 as of Sunday, it would be more like 2,000.

For a case in point, look no farther than the increase in testing that started Friday on the Wind River Indian reservation here in Fremont County. From a small handful of tests one day, to about 400 the next day, it took only 24 hours for our confirmed infection count to climb by nine. A few days from now, when the results of all those test come back, that number will have grown exponentially.

The purpose of these words is not to criticize, but to encourage -- as in encourage preparations. One of those preparations is the willingness to accept that the experts in viral infections, pandemics, the spread of illness, and the realities of testing in Wyoming know what they're talking about when they say that this already is worse than the daily statistics make us think it is.

Their predictions have played out across the world, and they will play out here once the availability of coronavirus testing begins to catch up with the demand for it.

For weeks we've been told what we ought to do to slow the spread of coronavirus. An astounding number of us still aren't doing it.

Our low case and death numbers compared to other places are no substitute for good preparations. As the wise man said, luck is not a plan -- and we aren't as lucky as we think.

have it within us to keep this from getting worse than it needs to be. But it won't just happen on its own. If it happens, it will be because we make it happen.

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2020-05-28

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