I visited with Dr. Nicola Bocek, MD, retired Family Medicine Physician, Dr. Sam Booth, MD, retired Emergency Room Physician, and Dr. Bush Preacher, MD, retired Cardiologist. They are part of a larger group of 30 local retired physicians who meet frequently to stay in touch and reached out to me to discuss our present situation. The group cares deeply for our community, some having practiced medicine in our Valley for over 40 years. Like our community as a whole, they have different backgrounds and beliefs, but all of them want to see our cases of COVID-19 slowed and our livelihoods restored.
The personal decision to wear a mask is a much debated topic. We have had extremely inconsistent and contradictory guidance on a global, national, state and local level. COVID-19 is “Novel”, meaning new. Certainly we will look back as a global community and determine there were many steps we could have taken that we did not, and others we took which will be deemed unnecessary. What we do know, is that Yakima County continues to stay in Phase 1 with little hope to move to Phase 2 as our case numbers increase rather than decline. We see neighboring counties move into Phase 2 and even Phase 3. Frustration in our community is evident. We see cancelled Graduations, Weddings, Memorials, Summer Camps, community events, struggling non-profits and our local business community being crushed by the weight of the unknown and loss of income. The possibility that schools may not re-open in the fall looms heavy on the minds of parents with young children.
Our personal liberties are integral to our society. They are the backbone of the foundation of our country. So important, they were enumerated in our Bill Of Rights. We have all lost our Freedom to conduct our daily lives as we did prior to COVID-19. These Freedoms must be restored. Under the present guidelines that limit our freedoms, as long as they are in effect, we retain the right to make personal, voluntary decisions to help slow the spread of the virus. We each have the freedom to choose how we can be a part of effecting the decline of COVID-19 in our community. Wearing a mask is one tool being offered by this group of local retired physicians as a way to help slow the spread. It might not be the best or most viable tool for everyone. For others it may be. We each have a personal decision to make.