Three in one family

Apr 22, 2020 By Steven R. Peck, Publisher

As all Wyoming hopes for a break in the coronavirus crisis that might signal a return to a more normal life, we hardly could have received worse news.

Four Fremont County residents died Monday of COVID-19 and its complications.

It had been a hopeful week before than. The local count of confirmed COVID cases grew by just one in seven days. There had been just two fatalities statewide, and that number hadn't changed for a good while.

Then, Tuesday's terrible news. Overnight, fatalities statewide went from two to six. More shocking, three of the four cases were from one family -- and all of them were in Fremont County.

We offer somber and sincere condolences to our fellow residents.

The desire for an end to the closures, restrictions and advisories is real. We are only human. This is difficult. But other properties of humanity, such as intelligence, reason and logic, must come into play as well.

The news of our county's four deaths demonstrates unequivocally that impatience mustn't trick us.

Time to ease the restrictions? Not yet. No chance.

The virus has no concept of anything, certainly not what human beings are thinking, feeling, hoping for, or tired of. It understands nothing. It can't be reasoned with, debated, tweeted, insulted or "politicked."

But it can be defeated. That's how we'll get back to normal. It's the only way.

These four deaths in Fremont County probably aren't the first caused locally by the virus this year. And they won't be the last.

And the 51 confirmed coronavirus cases in Fremont County we know about probably aren't the only ones that exist. More testing will reveal more cases as the virus spreads.

So how can we win this? How can coronavirus in Fremont County and Wyoming be defeated?

Well, it won't get done by yelling at the governor, by sending tweets in capital letters with lots of exclamation points, and certainly not by defying local directives.

The virus simply won't be impressed.

Take risks with your own life if you want to. This is the land of the free. But you have no right to take such risks with someone else's life. Think of the Fremont County family which lost three members in a single day this week. Your family could be next.

Paycheck Protection Program snafu

Should anyone really have been astonished to learn that hundreds of millions of dollars in federal "paycheck protection" funds approved for distribution to small businesses had, instead, been green-lighted to giant business chains?

Most of them didn't even need it -- or at least didn't need it nearly so much as tens of thousands of small businesses whose applications weren't even processed. Too often the big chains had help getting their free money from big banks that could keep the bigger "loan origination fees" for their own purposes.

Many hundreds of businesses in Wyoming missed out on crucial relief funds, at least in part because of this preference for giant corporations. Imagine that.

One multi-million-dollar recipient, the sit-down burger chain Shake-Shack, decided to give its $10 million loan back. It's doubtful that many others will suddenly discover a similar corporate conscience.

Oversight of the program was a big bargaining point in initial negotiations on the federal bailout bill. Now that there's talk of a second round, protection against big corporate welfare ought to be front and center.

Small businesses are fighting for their lives here. It would be nice -- not to mention ethical -- if more bigwigs in government and finance would fight for them too.

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