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Don Rogers: Of early snow, ends in sight

The surge is on and the vaccines are on their way.

Any day, any day now, the fellow holed up in the White House will get to packing, his toothless lawsuits played out.

The rain has come, right about on time, though only after wildfires exploded historic records across the West this awful summer we spent under one pall or another.

What a year! But snow falling by the feet up high heralds hope again. Bring on more of that, most definitely. Something of normal.

Thanksgiving, this year sadly a holiday to dread, is also a good time to count blessings, so let’s do that … The end appears to be in sight, just past this last largest wave, which is building, building fast.

Meantime President Trump, each day proving less worthy, piles on with his, um, own snow job. True to form, actually. I feel for his bamboozled supporters. There’s no America First, no Make US Great Again in this dude. Never was. Even the evangelicals must be beginning to see the con as the scales fall. What a guy, OK if Americans die because he can’t get out of his own way.

No need, though, for Democrats to lose their shirt over his refusal to acknowledge reality. Yes, the minions would believe all kinds of crazy instead of the simple truth. But the excuses are getting lamer, Giuliani’s claims ever more shrill. An end is in sight.

Just remember nearly half the country pulled for this guy. Voted, too. America’s going nowhere fast without them aboard. Considering the ongoing acrimony, that’s as sobering as this fire season.

But hey, the grass in the foothills soon will turn green again, fears of fire dampened, and with some luck, skiing and snowboarding will feel great even if we have to keep our faces covered at après, as well.

Seasons still turn. There’s room for hope. Better times are right around the bend.

THIRD WAVES

Surfers understand. Paddle for position along the line and you know when the next set comes, it won’t be the first or the second but maybe, probably, the third. And then you’ll know for sure when the whole horizon humps up huge.

That’ll stir the most grizzled heart. And here it comes, looks like. Black and heaving up, up. Time to dig.

Our active cases in Nevada County hopped from around 20 each day a few weeks ago to 200 this week. Suddenly more than ever.

Wear your mask, keep your distance, wash your hands. A real surge finally appears to be lapping at our shores, though I hope I’m wrong. The county will blow through 1,000 cases this week and may go exponential for a time. It doesn’t seem possible for the whole country to go this way in the cold and the holidays and those family superspreading gatherings without sweeping into our communities at long last.

Go ahead and cite your secondary studies from urban centers far from here, but Nevada County keeps a hard count and has a good idea of where people are catching and spreading the disease locally.

We know the local restaurants have had a few cases so far, a handful closing and reopening as the disease passes through. The schools have had a few more cases since opening in person, and we’ll see how that plays out from here.

The big spreaders, though, have been family and social gatherings. Weddings, reunions, celebrations of life drawing people from out of town, those times we say screw it and hug tight, maybe plant a kiss.

Thanksgiving, this year sadly a holiday to dread, is also a good time to count blessings, so let’s do that: This pandemic does not target the young like pandemics past and no doubt in the future. The disease is serious, but could be a lot worse. The end appears to be in sight, just past this last largest wave, which is building, building fast.

COLD COMPARISONS

As for morbidity and hard-hearted perspective, according to the 2019 Nevada County Health Assessment:

On average, 230 county residents die each year of cancer.

On average, 224 county residents die each year of heart disease.

On average, 21 county residents die each year of the flu/pneumonia.

This year with six weeks to go, 9 people have succumbed to COVID-19, all elderly. It is tragic, as so many deaths are tragic. And we know this disease across the country and the world is multiples more deadly than the flu, that both luck and at least decent safety habits are at work here.

New York, where COVID has struck the hardest in the world so far, averages 44,000 cardiac deaths and 35,000 cancer deaths each year, along with 4,700 flu deaths. Covid has taken 34,000 New Yorkers so far this year, the most of any state, despite them locking down when we did. But we’re not immune, not yet.

We’ve been fortunate here so far, no question. Pray our relatively good luck holds through and beyond the holidays. Let’s keep our distance, that more than anything.

But even viewed coldly, clinically, under flourescent lights, the end is in sight. Take heart.

Don Rogers is the publisher of the Sierra Sun and The Union, based in Grass Valley. He can be reached at drogers@sierrasun.com or 530-477-4299.


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