My farewell plea, and some much-needed answers

This is my last column for the Torrington Telegram. 

After almost two years and a little north of 700 stories – and some of them were even good – it’s time for me to move on and pursue a more sustainable career path. It’s been a good run, and by journalism standards, it’s been a lengthy tenure. As such, much to editor Andrew Brosig’s chagrin, this will be a lengthy column. 

Now, I’d love to spend my last column telling you all about what I love about this community. I’ve lived here for a while, and I plan on sticking around a while longer. I’ve seen this community pull through historic calamities like the Goshen Irrigation District tunnel collapse, bad breaks like the Western Sugar factory shutdown and generally stand strong in the face of the direst economic circumstances in the state. 

Plus, it’s my favorite week of the year – Goshen County Fair week. Come Thursday, my son and I will be fighting for the best spot in our window watching the fire trucks and horses line-up before we go to our parade-watching spot. 

Those are all things I would rather write about than what you’re about to read about. 

But I can’t in good conscience leave this platform behind without using it to scream one last time – TAKE COVID-19 SERIOUSLY. 

I’m writing this with the full knowledge that everyone’s mind is already made up – even if (especially if?) you have no knowledge or expertise necessary to render a semi-valid opinion. 

But I care, so here we go. 

Over the past week, I’ve seen this same stupid post on Facebook that poses a set of questions for “government and mask-shamers.” The writer, who remains unknown because this is always cut and pasted, pledges to wear a mask when they “can have all of these questions answered.” 

Is that a promise? I sure hope so, because here we go. I did my best to answer the ones coherent enough to have an answer. And for the record, just saying ‘what about’ and then listing every possible demographic or sub-group doesn’t make you smart, Karen. 

1. Why did the official numbers changes from 200,777 dead on July 9 to magically reappear Monday the 13th to only approximately 130,000?

I couldn’t find this jump in data anywhere online. That doesn’t mean it’s fake, but it probably is. Around that same time, news outlets like CNN, CBS News and Reuters released stories based on a projection that 200,000 people could die by October. It’s possible someone’s wires got crossed. 

The stat you should look at instead is that on Feb. 1, there were 0 deaths in the United States. Today, there are 154,002 and counting. 

2. Why are the hospitals counting one person with the virus in the hospital, who is tested every day for three weeks, counted as 21 new cases and not just once case? 

Well, they’re not. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, hospitals report their current cases, as well as their new cases. When someone is diagnosed, they will show up on the current cases list until “they are removed from COVID-19 isolation precaution.” Maybe the phantom inquisitor misunderstood, or perhaps this unnamed skeptic purposefully misinterpreted data. If this were true, Goshen County would have seen 168 cases by now, instead of 12. 

3) Why were we told how we can’t touch things because the virus lives for days on surfaces, only to learn later it only survives for minutes at best? How many other things were they wrong about?

Because epidemiology and medicine are sciences. The Scientific Method dictates that hypotheses are tested. As they’re tested, new information comes to light. If the CDC, WHO and everyone else knew everything about COVID-19 in the first few days of the pandemic, that would be much more suspicious than new information changing a theory on a new virus. 

4) Why are you forcing people to wear masks that state right on the box, it doesn’t protect from any viruses?

Masks don’t protect you from the virus. They protect everyone else from the droplets you eject from your gullet every time you speak and breath. The masks contain those droplets, that the virus ‘rides on,’ and prevents them from spreading. If you don’t believe they work, please let me know and I’d be glad to sneeze in your face with a mask, then without one, and you can decide which way is best. 

5) Why did you tell everyone they don’t need masks at first, but then change your mind later that now it is punishable by jail time if they don’t comply with your new rule (not law)?

In Wyoming, there is no mask mandate. There should be, because dolts that share these kinds of ignorant statements apparently need to be told to take care of other people, and potentially help them avoid a life-threatening virus. At one point, the CDC did say we don’t need masks. I even wrote a story reflecting such. Then the virus spread, and the doctors and scientists learned that masks can slow the spread and save lives. That model from No. 1 also predicted last week that the US could see 230,000 deaths by November – but that numbers decreases by 40,000 if 95% of Americans wear masks. That information is from – believe it or not – FOX News!

6) Why was China locked down for only 16 days? Why was Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, locked down for only 70 days, yet we are into 100+ now?

We’re not locked down. We never were – and that’s why other countries are seeing success rates. Wyoming just about had it licked in the middle of April, then Governor Mark Gordon started easing restrictions. Now, it seems that we get a new single-day high case count every day. In the United States, we labeled nearly every industry ‘essential.’ Had we reserved that label for infrastructure, public safety and grocery stores, like other countries did, we’d probably be past it. But instead, we kept everything open, got stingy with government aid to citizens, and people are dying every day because of it. 

7) Why when the virus started did Pelosi, and so many other D leaders play it down and say it was nothing, mocking the president, but now use it as “martial law lite”? 

Nancy Pelosi did downplay the virus, at first, in an attempt to keep the tourism industry alive in her district. As the situation grew more serious, her response changed. The Democrats first proposal for the CARES Act would have allowed up to $6,000 for each taxpayer, as well as provide a monthly $1,000 universal basic income. 

In May, Pelosi and her counterparts presented a second economic stimulus package worth $3 billion, which was immediately barked down by Republicans. To date, there’s been no additional assistance approved for American citizens. Republicans are currently mulling over another $1,200 check for everyone, which is also part of Pelosi’s act. 

Being deprived of a haircut and being made to use a drive-through is not martial law. 

It seems, like the scientists we’ve already discussed, she learned more about the virus and her actions reflect that. In contrast, President Donald Trump wore a mask for the first time in July. 

9) Why is it that the articles of impeachment, the China trade deal, and the 1st case of covid in the US being reported all happened on January 15th, 2020? What is the true statistical probability of all 3 events happening the same day?

This is mostly true. The first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed on Jan. 19, but the patient had symptoms four days prior. The other two events – the trade deal and the vote on the Articles of Impeachment against Trump – are actually highly likely to have happened on the same day, as Trump and his team were looking for some positive news during the turbulent impeachment hearings. 

10) Why is it ok to go to Walmart, Costco, and gas station, or restaurant for take-out as we please, but we can’t show up to vote in November (even though we have no clue if it will still be here in November).

You can show up to vote in November. I wrote that story last week. Read the newspaper. And the election will be in November, no matter what Trump says. 

11) Why did the conversation about changing how we vote even happen 8 months before an election? We saw how far off we were with predictions once already.

Because you prepare for things before they happen. Imagine if we tried to organize safe elections the day before?

12) Why do you encourage long term wear of cloth face masks which are actually proven by OSHA to make people more susceptible to disease and illness? 

This one gave me a migraine. Countless professions wear face coverings all day, every day with no medical ramifications. And no one said you had to wear one for a long period of time. You just have to wear it when you can’t maintain six feet between you and the next person. That’s what, 30 minutes in Wal-Mart? Harden up, snowflake. 

13) Why do you lock people down and put healthy people on virtual house arrest? What about those that have had it and recovered? There are a lot more of them than people who died. Why are they forced to have the same rules? Isn’t quarantine for sick people? What justifies locking down everyone?

Just because you can ask questions doesn’t mean they are good questions. Honestly, read something besides Facebook. No one was locked down on ‘house arrest.’ We’re safer at home from a virus that kills more people every four days than died on 9/11/01. 

14) Why can essential workers like a grocery store bag boy that gets paid $8/hr go to work and deal with thousands of people a week, but teachers can’t go back to see the same kids everyday? 

Do people chew on the bag boy’s pencils? Do customers sneeze on the bag boys? Kids put everything in their mouths and they don’t usually show symptoms of the virus. They’re cute little grim reapers. 

And teachers are going back to school. Just like they do every time there’s a national crisis, they’ll handle it. 

15) Why is it safe enough for essential workers, like weed shops, liquor stores, fast food restaurants, garbage men, to go work, but we can’t go to vote?


16) If people who work on viruses for a living at a lab wear a level 4 bio suit, full respirator, etc... use such equipment to save them from deadly viruses, what good would a mask do? 

Your chances of contracting a virus in a lab, while your holding vials that contain positive test results hundreds of times a day, are probably a lot higher than in the grocery store, Karen. 

17) If covid is .2 to .05 microns in size, which it is, how can any mask, even an N95 mask, perfectly worn & fitted, that only blocks items .5 microns or more, how can masks actually stop the virus?

According to the Mayo Clinic, which certainly knows better than you, N95 masks protect down to .1 microns with 95% efficiency, which is why they’re called N95 masks. Everyone else, go re-read No. 4.

18) Why are “peaceful protests” allowed and deemed safe enough to take place, but children being born can’t have their fathers in the room, and other’s can’t have a funeral service for those that have died? We can’t have people 6ft apart at a funeral?

“I have not encouraged any actions by law enforcement to cite protesters for violating the state’s health orders, as I recognize the importance of the ability to protest, both for Wyoming and our Nation. However, large gatherings of people do involve significant health risks and this risk has been identified both locally and nationally. I encourage those who chose to participate in peaceful protests to practice social distancing and wear face coverings as much as possible.” – Governor Mark Gordon. 

Restricting protests actually does infringe on a Constitutional right, unlike the imaginary rights infringed upon by asking people to wear a mask. 

23) Is this about a virus.... or an ELECTION?

Had it been handled correctly in March, it wouldn’t have any impact on the election. It probably will now. 


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