Hi folks,

I want to talk a little about COVID. During our first round of COVID-19, those with underlying conditions and the elderly were the populations most at risk from COVID. When younger, healthy people caught COVID, their symptoms were fairly minor, like mine, or they got sicker and had some issues, like my wife Carole, but usually weren’t real serious.

Unfortunately, our government had a knee-jerk reaction and put out a lot of information that turned out not to be accurate and imposed a lot of regulations that were probably not needed. This resulted in a huge amount of distrust and second-guessing. We are still dealing with some of the fallout from those earlier decisions.

I have been opposed to mask and vaccine mandates from the outset. I think there are much better ways to proceed. The first would be to regain the public’s trust. I’m not sure just how to do that, but a good start would be to understand that the public is not stupid. Most people will do what is right when they know the facts and are treated with respect. Our government has pretty much been treating us like a bunch of ignorant grade-school kids that need to be led by the hand and told exactly what to do.

I am writing this because I am concerned about this new strain of COVID. It appears that this is much more serious than the original. I have personally talked with three young or middle-age people who have gotten COVID in the past few weeks and have nearly died from it. Two of those people lost over 30 pounds. Having been that ill, we really don’t know what the long-term effects will be. I am also aware of several other folks who have gotten extremely ill. None were vaccinated that I am aware of. It seems that this new strain of COVID can be devastating to anyone, regardless of age or health.

Once again, I am opposed to vaccine or mask mandates. However, I very strongly recommend that everyone who is not vaccinated sit down with their medical provider and have an open discussion about the pros and cons of the vaccine. Everyone should make their own decision, but it should be based on actual facts. Masks and good hygiene must do something, since I don’t believe we have had a flu case in over a year. If wearing a mask is appropriate, please consider wearing one.

I’ve had COVID and I’ve had the vaccine. I wear a mask if I enter a business that requires one. I also wear a shirt and shoes into businesses. Those are my choices. They shouldn’t be mandated by the government.

Vaccines in Jefferson County are free and readily available. The Health Department will go about anywhere to vaccinate someone. Just give them a call: (406) 225-4007. 

Take care everyone and stay safe!

Leonard Wortman is the chairman of the Jefferson County Commission.

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