In the last 14 days, Curry County has had 308 cases, almost three times the number for the previous two week period (105), which means almost 36% of the COVID cases we've had in the last 18 months have happened in the last four weeks.

As of Tuesday, Curry County ranked number 1 of 36 counties in daily transmissions, ninth in positive cases, with the 14th lowest fully vaccinated rate at 44.7% of citizens.

The commissioners turned over responsibility for our mental and physical health to the Oregon Health Authority and then passed a resolution that no county entity could enforce a state mandate, in support of the concept of First Amendment Rights. The mandate would have to be approved by the commissioners.

According to numerous Supreme Court decisions, however, exercising those rights must not endanger others (and in so doing violates their rights) or the public welfare. This global pandemic justifies a wide range of reasonable restrictions on our liberties. Believing otherwise makes the Constitution a suicide pact - and not just metaphorically.

Unfortunately, without constructive action to protect our youth who can't be vaccinated and adults who have been vaccinated, Delta and new variants are finding ways around current vaccines. And they'll only continue to mutate.

County counsel should revisit the legal ramifications of the mandate refusal, since it is ripe for a suit against the commissioners and county counsel for negligence and negligent homicide, particularly when information could have appeared in the Pilot before the start of the Pirate's Festival strongly encouraging masks and social distancing.

In the meantime, be wary of spreaders because everyone, vaccinated and unvaccinated, is a potential spreader. Let's bring an end to this mutation process. Wear a mask that covers your nose and get vaccinated. Let's end this thing.

Gordon Clay

Brookings

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