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Let’s Fully Open Chautauqua County

To The Reader’s Forum:

In order to re-open New York, “every region in the state has the same opening template,” stated Cuomo. He added that “emotions can’t drive our re-opening process.” All regions “must follow these guidelines as part of the re-opening plan.”

Regarding the guidelines, which Cuomo calls “factual data points,” who created them? It turns out that the New York Forward Re-Opening Advisory Board did the creating. The “board” is composed of 100 “business, community and civic leaders from industries across the state.” Not a single virology scientist or medical expert is included on the list!

Since there has been no precedent for re-opening this state previously due to a virus infection, the “board’s” re-opening plans for the more than 19 million New York citizens can be considered as pure guesswork.

Contrast the “board’s” phase re-opening factual data points – more like guesstimates – with Dr. Donald Yealy’s comments, extensively quoted in “We Can Safely Reopen” (P-J, May 8, 2020). His main thrust is: we can reopen the region safely and we know how to do it. Who instills more confidence in you: a medical expert with extensive experience, or a “board” composed of 100 lay persons, all of whom lack any scientific and medical knowledge?

With a virus infection rate of only 0.03 percent in Chautauqua County and a death rate of 0.003 percent, it is ludicrous that our county remains closed. As noted by Tom Reed, Chautauqua is vastly different from Erie and Niagara counties. People are suffering from the shut down, especially those who live on the margin economically.

As Dr. Yealy stated, re-opening is not dependent upon the following: it’s not testing; it’s not new medications; it’s not the number of antibodies; it’s not a vaccine; it’s not asymptomatic transmission. Opening safely is dependent on exercising good basic hygiene. It’s time for fear mongering to stop. Viruses have been with us since the beginning of life. We must learn to adapt, not isolate ourselves.

It’s time for Mr. Wendel to say: “Let’s do it!” And then take concrete action to open –fully — all Chautauqua County.

Deann Nelson

Jamestown

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