Wollman: Time to close the islands Featured

There’s an email now circulating that asks that all non-essential travel to San Juan County be stopped. My first reaction was that it would be great for me but was too radical. It didn’t take long, however, thinking about the repercussions of such a plan, for me to realize that this is a mainstream action. We are being asked to shelter at home. We’re being asked to help flatten the curve. Closing the islands to all non-essential travel would fall right in line with what the disease experts are asking of us.

Yes, this would hurt islanders who make their living in the tourist trade. In the short run, ending the tourist trade would be a terrible blow to Susie, all the B&B owners, Wendy, and anyone else depending on tourist volume for income. In the long run, however, it may to their advantage, as well as to our immune-difficient and over 60 population.

Think it over, islanders. You can find the holes in my argument and the pluses, and respond, reflectively, I hope. As I said to one of the supporters of this plan, let’s write letters to the editors of our local papers and see how vicious the attacks will be. That may give us an index to the possibility of pursuing the matter. As of this moment, 19 March 10 AM, there are no reported positive cases of Covid-19 in the county.

If we act quickly, we can keep it that way. From a disease expert: "If the virus makes a jump to new person every two to five days, as scientists calculate, then a single infected person could lead to 4,142 total infections within a month — assuming nothing is done to break chains of transmission.” https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-long-will-americans-be-fighting-coronavirus_n_5e737f9cc5b63c3b648ba6c3

Barbara Wollman

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