As America reaches 111,375 deaths from Covid-19, more than any other country on Earth, stores in Mesa County are posting signs at their entrances variously begging, threatening and warning patrons not to enter without a face mask. The mask-wearing policies are aimed at protecting the community from another shutdown by preventing the spread of Covid-19, the highly communicable, deadly novel coronavirus that has no known prevention, treatment or cure. The policies are also meant to protect grocery workers who are putting their lives on the line and endangering their own families every day to fulfill our community’s need for groceries and services. At least 68 grocery store workers across the country have died so far from Coronavirus, and that statistic was last updated on May 21.
But no one is enforcing the rules.
What’s a hundred thousand-plus Americans dead? Not a big deal to many Mesa County citizens.
Amid a pandemic that has taken a number of lives equivalent to thirty seven 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, Mesa County residents are increasingly acting as if the pandemic doesn’t exist and are ignoring public health mandates to mask up in establishments, endangering workers, other patrons and the entire community.
And no one is stepping up to enforce mask rules.
A call to City Market 24 Road revealed it is not enforcing its mask rule, and the same goes for Safeway. Bed, Bath and Beyond — re-opened now after months of being shut down because of the virus — also has what appears from the outside to be a strict mask policy, but people are ignoring that, too, and BBB is failing completely to enforce it.
Cases up in Mesa County
All this is happening amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in Mesa County.
The Mesa County Health Department (MCHD) now reports 62 diagnosed Covid-19 cases in the county, up from 55 on June 2 — an increase of 7 cases in just one week. But that number may be misleading since testing for Covid-19 here has been inadequate to get an accurate picture of where cases really are in the county. MCHD has tested just 3,176 people out of a population of 151,406, or just 2% of our area’s total population. This means the virus could be anywhere, and we’ll have no idea.
On April 8, 2020, the MCHD reported our county was in a state of community spread, meaning the MCHD has no idea where cases in our area are coming from and is unable to trace and isolate them to control them.
What could help this situation?
Stronger and more consistent messaging and some leadership could make this situation better, but under our current longstanding political regime, we currently lack both of those. Thus confusion reigns in our area about the best practices and behaviors necessary to control spread of the virus and prevent another harsh lockdown.
The lack of cooperation with best practices recommended by epidemiologists means our situation isn’t likely to get better any time soon. Local leaders and stores paying lip service to important public health recommendations fails to serve anyone, and endangers our entire community.