People in Blaine County had a front-row seat on the coronavirus pandemic. That’s the difference between people here and elsewhere.

At one point, the county’s infection rate was higher than New York City’s. Idaho’s South Central Health District spans the area from Sun Valley to Twin Falls. The district is still reporting the highest numbers of new infections in the state even though confirmed new infections in Blaine County for the past two weeks were near zero.

That is why most people here wear masks when they shop and cannot maintain the recommended minimum 6-foot distance from others. That is why businesses have signs on their doors asking customers to wear masks.

No one wants a rerun of March when stay-at-home orders shut down all but essential businesses and services.

The science on the effectiveness of masks in reducing the transmission of droplets from the mouth and nose of coronavirus carriers is mixed, but most experts agree that masks are beneficial.

Wearing a mask or not wearing a mask has nothing to do with personal politics. It’s about erring on the side of caution.

People used to drive cars without seatbelts until research showed unequivocally that seatbelts save lives. The swift spread of coronavirus across the country hasn’t afforded us the luxury of “unequivocal” evidence about masks.

If the Sun Valley area is to stay open, residents and visitors must use the tools at hand to keep a second wave of the virus, job losses and business closures at bay.

Masks, handwashing and social distancing are the tools we have. Use them.

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