The path through the COVID-19 Pandemic has been arduous and painful, and the path forward promises to be no less challenging. Although we may disagree about policies and approaches to combatting a virus that knows no boundaries, there are many areas where we can agree:
- The last year was difficult for all of us, especially challenging for our children, their parents and our seniors.
- We are still learning about COVID-19, and the virus that causes it
- None of us likes closures and lockdowns, which are stressful and damaging to businesses and our community.
- We are all weary of this pandemic, COVID fatigue is real.
- Our community should be one where we have an opportunity to express ourselves and to live peaceably with one another.
- No one should feel intimidated or unsafe because of their views.
- Everyone deserves consideration and respect.
- Our challenges as a nation, state and community are so large that we can only solve them together.
The mission of public health is to advance the health and well-being of Nevada County’s people and communities. As a public health officer, I am abundantly aware that there are individuals who do not support the approach of the California Department of Public Health for preventing the spread of COVID-19. While the Public Health Department’s work will always be science-based, I am willing to hear various points of view, and to work diligently to find approaches based on common values. All are entitled to give their opinions in any forum they choose. Tolerance and civility have been the standard of debate for many potentially divisive issues facing our county and the discourse has generally been polite. However, we have fallen short of this standard when it comes to COVID-19. Disagreement and debate are healthy for our democracy, but whether it’s COVID-19, or any of the many policy challenges we will be facing together, threats and vitriol shouldn’t be acceptable to anyone. If there is anything this pandemic has shown us, it is that we are united in our vulnerability. We succeed or fail together. Let us unite around our common humanity rather than allow hatred to divide us. Nevada County, we are better than this.
As a physician I felt called to serve as a Public Health Officer because I knew in my heart that the highest goal in medicine is the prevention of disease and advancement of health and well-being. Although we may have differences regarding the path to health, the hatred and division that has been exposed by this pandemic must not endure beyond it.
There is much we agree upon, and with the increasing percentage of our population vaccinated, the resultant reduction in cases, and the State’s announcement that most restrictions will be lifted on June 15th, it’s time to start thinking about how we move forward out of this pandemic.
I call upon the residents of Nevada County to unite towards the common purpose of a healthier community. We have many challenges facing us in the coming months and years. These include issues like wildfire preparedness, homelessness, affordable housing, economic development, and future pandemics and health challenges. As a community we must come out of this pandemic stronger, or else we may not come out of the next one intact.
In the coming weeks we will bring forward a series of articles reflecting on where we’ve been, and hopefully spurring a civil and respectful conversation on how we move forward as one county.