To the editor:
In a recent letter to the Enterprise a writer lightheartedly suggested that Walmart may require masks on cars since 2020 Wyoming highway fatalities and deaths due to COVID-19 are both at approximately 50 people.
First of all I find it a bit difficult to be joking about 100 needless deaths of our fellow Wyoming citizens, but more importantly the writer completely missed the point of why our death and infection rate has remained relatively low. It is not that government and society have been overreacting as the joke seems to imply. Our COVID-19 infection and death rates are low because of the inconvenient rules and restrictions that most Wyoming people have lived with for the last few months.
Contagious virus diseases grow at an exponential rate if not seriously controlled. In Wuhan, or many other places of outbreak, the average person infected four others.
Measles in the days before vaccines also spread in a multiple of four. By comparison an individual with the flu infects, on average, just 1.2 additional people. Do a bit of quick multiplying and you can see how a very small number of COVID-19 cases becomes a huge number in a few 10-day generations. (e.g. 4, 16, 64, 256, ect). Because of our relatively small and widely dispersed population, shutdowns and general compliance to smart protocols, Wyoming has been able to stop the exponential growth and hold our death rate to “only” 50.
I was in New Zealand in March when COVID-19 hit the island. The shutdown was hard and fast. My wife and I were on one of the last flights to leave. How did it work for them you may ask?
New Zealand has 10 times the people (5,000,000 citizens) in the same land area as Wyoming. They have had a total of 22 deaths. At the end of their one-month lockdown, schools, sports, businesses are reopened and the island has almost no coronavirus. If we had kept our rate as low as New Zealand’s we would have only two deaths in Wyoming at this point.
As I look at the ads for political-office seekers in the papers I find it rather ironic that all promote themselves as “prolife,” but none says much about the coronavirus and how they plan to keep our illness and death rate low to protect and preserve the life of your mother, uncle, teacher, neighbor or you.
Wearing a mask, social distancing and listening to our scientific experts is the way to save the lives and benefit our economy in Wyoming.
(s) dan white