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Washingtonians want to get back to business–with masks, of course


April 9, 2020

By Loyal and Charlotte Baker

DAYTON–The COVID-19 event is hitting us hard—here and everywhere.

In the rural communities where social distancing is not much of a problem, the public in general has been maintaining relatively good health as we keep coronavirus at bay—some able to maintain their daily constitutionals.

Thankfully, in Columbia County, there has been only one positive and over 40 presumptives who were tested and found to be negative for COVID-19.

Now, as we peer up and down Main Street, and many of the side streets, we perceive an eerie vacancy in the absence of typical daily routines of coming and going.

We’re huddled in our homes, fearing the unknown, because really—what do we know?

There are television reports, newspaper stories, social-media posts and conversation that imply impending doom—some of dubious content.

What do we know? What do we really know?

We don’t know.

Statistics indicate that a vast majority of the population—something like 98%—can survive contracting COVID-19. The problem, however, is with the other two percent, the “vulnerable population”, who could overwhelm available medical facilities and equipment, not to mention the scarcity of personal protective equipment for medical personnel.

However, some maverick states–Arkansas for example–have stayed away from the general stay-at-home order. Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” last Sunday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson appeared in a segment opposite Gov. Jay Inslee, and touted Arkansas’s low number of confirmed cases and deaths—997 confirmed and only 18 deaths. For Arkansas’s three million residents, that’s .000006 of the population has died.

In Washington, which is a port state on the West Coast and had been a regular airport of entry from Asian countries, the state’s 394 deaths are primarily in King County (226) and Snohomish County (59). Six other counties are in double digits: Benton County has had 18 deaths, Clark County (across the river from Portland) 10, Pierce County with 15, Spokane County with 12, Whatcom County with 19 deaths, and Yakima County has 16 deaths.

The difference we noted was that Arkansas’s Republican governor is keeping Arkansans working while maintaining low infection and death rates. Social distancing and masks are key components of their plan.

“We have success in Arkansas,” Gov. Hutchinson said, “comparable to other states, in fact, beating and slowing the spread more than in some states that have actually had a stay-at-home order.

“But you have a [state with a] stay-at-home order, tomorrow 600,000 Arkansans will still go to work,” Hutchinson said. “So it’s more important…the message to do your social distancing and don’t gather in groups of more than 10 people and bring a mask with you.

“I’m going to be following that instruction,” he said. “If I can’t social distance, I want to have a mask on.”

Maybe in coming weeks, as statistical data is further refined, it will reveal that Washington can relax some of its economy-crippling policies and let masked Washingtonians get back to work.


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