Here are selected comments about the current pandemic situation. These were provided in response to an invitation to the community by the Enterprise.

Imagine where we'd be, if like Polio, or MMR (measles, mumps and eubella) vaccinations, people took the advice from doctors about the disease, instead of someone on social media, or one trying to make a buck from Youtube video royalties. This new age of disinformation is pitting society against each other. Those crying about lost freedoms are those hospitalized (97% unvaccinated). Similarly, we saw this phenomenon, when seatbelts and helmets were required; those severely injured from not wearing a seatbelt, or non-helmeted motorcyclists, that required state-financial help when they couldn't pay for accumulated medical bills, all due to their proposed loss of "freedom!" - Karl J. Findling

I'm sorry to say that the county is at high risk of a real debacle. I was the only person wearing a mask at the grocery store and at the Ontario Outdoor Market. Even in the Oregon Natural Market there were several people and only two customers were masked. I know of a vet clinic where two vaccinated employees are ill with Covid-19. Our population does not a. Believe the virus is real b. Believe they should wear a mask and c. Care about their children or community because they wish to support a false ideology. Short of the governor mandating masks and vaccinations our county will see severe illness, deaths, and economic impact. Idaho is already experiencing the beginning of problems. When our population experiences the full impact St. Al’s will be overwhelmed. – Stacey Gerhman

Thank you for the opportunity to share a few thoughts. This is a pandemic. It began in 2019-2020. Definition: “PANDEMIC” (noun) - “a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease over a whole country or the world at a particular time.”  It continues world-wide into 2021 … and beyond. The initial coronavirus pandemic continues to mutate and will bring us even more sickness, infectious diseases and unnecessary, regrettable deaths. (Please refer again to “pandemic” definition). As in other times of crisis, we can exercise our agency: A) do little or nothing and hope for the best, or B) be respectful of the known science of infectious disease control, accept counsel from the best scientific sources available and control/slow/(or even stop!) the pandemic. We each can still choose to do nothing (which limits our agency to travel, meet, recreate) and we will suffer the consequences. But then, please don’t tell others that you expect that the laws of gravity don’t apply to your agency when you’re standing on the edge of a tall cliff! - Tom Butler

I wish Malheur County would see higher vaccination rates, then maybe masks mandates would not be needed. I feel that so many of the feelings about masks, vaccinations, schools, etc., is based on politics, instead of the science, which has cost a great deal of lives, low vaccination rates and increases in the number of Covid cases. Measles, mumps, smallpox were wiped out, until false information about vaccinations caused people to stop them and they are back. As long as we continue to spread false information, we will never get rid of the virus. - Charlene Pelland 

I hate this is a political issue for too many people. Perhaps if the vaccine had been called Trump's vaccine we won't be in this mess. – Corki Duncan

 Last time I checked, I was over 21, and mentally capable of making all decisions concerning my mental and physical health. I don't need any help from "the powers that be"! If I think a mask is needed, rest assured, I'll wear one. - Susan Dixon-Thaler

I wish more people would get vaccinated. I’ve remained working in the public at my primary job the entire time. With the precautions that help shield me from direct customer contact plus my vaccination, I have not tested positive and haven’t taken it into my home. I do wish every person and place were mandated to clean more. here has been too much lacking in general cleaning everywhere!! My secondary job was shut down most of the time and it hasn’t built back up to need me on staff yet. It is sad to see education suffer. I hate the masks. But they are a critical part to our health. I gotta wear mine. Please wear yours. – Cynthia Anderson

I do not believe it should be mandated to have the shot. I do know that when I have gone out to stores and choose to wear a mask people have become rude and called me and my children names and followed us around stores cursing and yelling at us and I do not believe that is right I think we all need to work as a community and get this covid-19 under control. – Misty Parent

We've all been given opportunity to make their decision regarding vaccination. We will all have to live with our decisions good or bad. The virus is going to do what viruses do, they mutate and the virus is not going away. We will have to learn how to live with it. I will get my booster due to mutation. We are free to make our own decisions. Businesses are free to make whatever mandates they wish and workers will have to make their decisions. Get the politicians out of it. - Bob Quick

Legally, society's most important life and death decisions are made "beyond a reasonable doubt." Factfinders are told to set aside our biases and not let our personal feelings, sympathy or prejudice influence our decisions. Reasonable doubt is doubt based on common sense and reason. Reasonable doubt is not an imaginary doubt. The government's efforts to curb Covid-19 are based on factual scientific evidence pointing to the logical conclusion that it's efforts will lead to real reductions of Covid-19 health risks for citizens, beyond a reasonable doubt. Dissenting views are based on things we're told to avoid - biases, personal feelings, sympathy, prejudice and imaginary doubt. – John Lamborn

Individual freedom is a right that we have but not absolute because we live in a community. We have the right of freedom of expression but should not be disdainful or degrade others. In our nation the rule of law exists to help provide for our general safety. The right to get or not get a vaccination and/or wear a mask is something that each of us has at this time, with consequences for each action. Generally, in our nation: corporations, associations, firms, partnerships, etc. are treated as an individual so they also have the right to mandate rules for themselves. - Ronald Verini

The biggest problem with the pandemic is that bad actors politicized it and that interferes with people taking the steps to protect themselves and others. Masks have no politics. Masks are not tyranny, not slavery, but a health device. They are necessary for public health at this time. Since people will not wear them willingly, the government must step in and mandate us to do the right thing in the name of “promote the general welfare and…” which means public health. It’s one of the government’s constitutional functions. – Maxine Burgess 

First and foremost I don't believe any politician in Oregon cares enough or is capable of to have any effect on the surge. We need straight answers from the covid researchers! I also believe that if masks do help, that is little effort to protect yourself and others in this world of confusion and political cesspool! - Rich Weaver

I wish people would stop listening to conspiracy theories not backed by true facts and get the vaccine.  Covid could then begin to be controlled and we could get back to life. I know it sounds like a simple answer to a complex issue, but the answer really is simply. Vaccines work. – Sarah Ray

Tragically, we have lost a year of Covid progress, returning once again to friends sick and dying, hospitals full, masking up in stores and restaurants. Personal freedom, caring for our neighbors and a return to 2019 life requires the selfless act of a shot in the arm. – Jim Bishop

Mask mandates. Not enough scientific knowledge to make sound decisions. Using fear tactics instead. Are masks really effective? – Robert Myers

I hope that everyone in Malhuer County does the right thing so we can beat this virus. Children are sick and fighting to stay alive. – Julie Ross

I would buy in to the mask mandates if there was actual data shared that demonstrated efficacy of their usage. That has not been done. In fact the studies I have read show a detrimental effect on children. Freedom of choice is what we all want, give it back! - Jeff Schauer

I thought I'd share what's happening in Jackson and Josephine counties. Our vaccination rates are <50% (like Malheur County) and we are now suffering the consequences with our  hospitals overrun with no beds and sick folks on gurneys in many hallways. The state and FEMA are in process of constructing a field hospital and sending down crisis nurses. The National Guard is mobilized to helps with non-clinical duties as many of our hospital staff are out sick. This Delta variant is much more transmissible and our patients are younger and sicker! And 95% of patients being admitted (or being transferred out to other hospitals) are unvaccinated. I'm on ER backup at Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford this weekend and our ER looks like a MASH unit (without Hawkeye and Trapper John to make it look easy)! - Paul Schroeder

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