To the editor: Back in March and April near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Alaska was recording in the neighborhood of 10 to 15 infections per day. Then the governor imposed mandates closing down on “nonessential” businesses like bars and salons that bring people into close proximity. The use of face masks was also encouraged. Then during the month of May the statewide infection rate dropped down to about five infections per day, and the Fairbanks North Star Borough had almost a couple of weeks without a single new infection. Then the mandates were relaxed. People were careless about wearing face masks, and bars and restaurants that encourage people to gather in close proximity opened up. Alaska is now seeing an infection rate of about 40 per day. This pattern is being repeated elsewhere throughout the country, except the northeastern states that were badly hit early on.
Being a senior citizen, I find this situation scary. We are seeing this sharp rise in cases during the summer when it is much easier to maintain social distancing. And, come fall, children will be gathering in schools, which will encourage the spread of disease among families and thence to adults and the general population.
Action should be taken now while we still have summer that makes social distancing easier. What should be done is fairly clear. It rests on the simple premise that if we can prevent the transmission of infection, then the disease will die out. Step one would be the closing of bars and other social gathering venues. Step two would require the wearing of masks indoors. The governor got us off to a strong start last May. Where is he now?