Gloom, doom, sleep, repeat. This has been the drumbeat of life within the U.S., which has more COVID-19 coronavirus cases than any nation in the world. This week, hope arrived with the news of two highly effective vaccines that could become available in the months ahead.
Winter still will be a dangerous slog through the political dissension that is hamstringing and destroying Idaho’s medical infrastructure. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion that Blaine County must become a victim of the disaster.
Though the county saw the highest rate of infection in the nation in the spring, suppression measures—masks, distancing and lockdowns—worked. In the summer, local cities went from bust to an unexpected boomlet driven by people fleeing urban centers. Forecasts of economic devastation of the magnitude of the late-1880s silver bust didn’t materialize. The tourism-based economy sputtered along with federal loans and paycheck bailouts.
Early signs for winter business are decent as well. Sun Valley Resort plans to open Bald Mountain for skiing with extensive safety measures in place. Season pass sales for both Alpine and cross-country skiing have been robust.
The Sun Valley area is lucky that outdoor sports are its main attraction, unlike New York City, which relies heavily on live indoor events. Experts say that moving air quickly dilutes airborne virus-carrying aerosols and makes outdoor transmission far less likely.
To keep hope alive this winter, the goal of everyone here should be to keep virus spread low with mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing and insisting that others to do the same. The only alternative is unthinkable disaster.
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