Our community is gradually settling into a new pace of life, with drastically reduced levels of service and personal interaction. Businesses and schools are shuttered across the country, and all for the right reason: reducing the spread of COVID-19.

For each of us to do our part, it’s best to assume you have the coronavirus and that everyone else does, too. We must be constantly vigilant. Research shows that even people with mild or no symptoms can carry a very high viral load. Positive tests just confirm a reality: It’s far too late to stop the spread from individuals to dozens, or hundreds, with whom they interacted when they didn’t feel sick.

While admittedly tough to swallow, Grand Teton and Yellowstone national park leaders did the right thing by closing the parks for the foreseeable future. Drawing more visitors runs counter to our national and global responsibility to flatten the curve and minimize transmission. Our parks funnel large numbers of guests through aging infrastructure with minimal staff, so reopening prematurely is perilous. Hats off to the Travel and Tourism Board for halting the remainder of winter and shoulder season advertising campaigns.

Colorado has been hit hard. Eagle County (Vail) has the highest per capita infection rate. Gunnison (Crested Butte) and Pitkin (Aspen) counties follow just behind.

To our west, “shelter in place” is in effect for Blaine County, Idaho, home to Sun Valley. Coastal towns are finally closing hotels and beaches to stop foolish spring break visitors.

Unfortunately, we can look ahead to see what happens when people don’t take physical distancing seriously. Deaths in Italy (population 61 million) have now surpassed China (population 1.4 billion). The doubling rate of the United States is outpacing every country in the world.

Overwhelming the hospital system puts patients and health care workers at risk.

As a community, we will get through this.

Use to-go, online ordering and delivery and shop-by-appointment options to support local businesses.

Countless apps make video and voice hangouts simple and fun.

If you have a hobby, practice it: Knit, sew, whittle. If you need a new one, consider learning another language online. Crafts like making soap with your kids can inspire science learning and handwashing. TCLib.org has ways for you to access free library e-books, movies and more. Clean your dang closet, the garage too.

Don’t go to work if you’re sick.

To those suffering mental health issues made worse by confinement: Seek help. A 24-hour hotline is there for you: 733-2046.

Look at the positives. You get to spend more time with your family and your pets. You’re less distracted. Find value in the reset to our busy lifestyles.

Make a point to call and check on friends and family. It’s a different time that deserves a different social connection.

Rethink volunteering, and if volunteering is not possible in person, can you help financially? In the days and weeks ahead take every opportunity to enjoy local and buy local.

This editorial represents the opinion of the News&Guide’s editorial board: Johanna Love, Rebecca Huntington, Kevin Olson and Adam Meyer.

(2) comments

Jim Olson

Could you list the various ways we can volunteer?

Johanna Love Staff
Johanna Love

Hi Jim, the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole has set up a form on its page where people can sign up to be connected to COVID-19 volunteering opportunities. https://www.cfjacksonhole.org/subscribe-as-a-covid-19-volunteer/ ... and there are many neighborhood-specific groups on Facebook where people are offering help and finding ways to help. Here's another place people are offering ways to give their time: https://www.facebook.com/groups/230800028061054/

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