Thoughts from Dale Steenbergen -
67,000 miles per hour. That’s how fast we’re moving right now. As inhabitants of the third rock from the sun (a great song by Joe Diffie that has several implications for this story), we are spinning in a circle around the sun. Only a blink ago in history, the very thought of the earth moving and the sun standing still could get you tortured and jailed. Your head was chopped off, or you were drawn and quartered, or burned at the stake, or subjected to any number of other morbid and painful events. Galileo (another great song by the Indigo Girls) was put under house arrest for what we now know is a fact: the earth revolves around the sun. It took the Catholic church 300 years to forgive him for speaking that truth. The world has always been a little quirky, and the cause and effect, the chain of events, all of the chaos? It makes perfect sense. (If you listened to the Joe Diffie song you're with me. If you didn’t, you're lost as a penguin at the North Pole).
We, like our forefathers, see ourselves as revolutionary. We believe we know the truth, and that future generations will view our social and political understandings just like we do now. Really? Hold my beer and please ask Covid to enter at stage left. Before you climb up on your high horse of superiority, remember that someone will be wrong on Covid 19. Not kind of wrong, not a little wrong, but absolutely, positively incorrect. Masks or no masks, vaccines or no vaccines, not a big deal or an earth-shattering big deal are all opinions that have been espoused.
In the midst of all this turbulence, there are facts to be garnered. Hospital counts are going up, respirators are being employed, and schools are saddled with trying to keep students and teachers in the classroom. There are realities from our hospital that I want to share with you. As of Wednesday, there were 57 folks hospitalized with Covid in Cheyenne. Out of those 57 people, 46 were not vaccinated (that’s 80.7%.) We had 15 people in the ICU with Covid; 13 were not fully vaccinated (that’s 87%.) There were 13 people on a ventilator, and 11 were not vaccinated (that's 84.6%.) This is the math, as I like to say, and, unless you were born a 4-toed hillbilly, you know that math is not negotiable.
Your Chamber has taken the position that you need to know the facts about what’s happening with Covid. Statistically speaking, the numbers strongly indicate that the vaccine is effective at protecting us from the worst of this disease. I personally am vaccinated, and the reason I am vaccinated is because of my cows. Cows you ask? Yup, cows. We have vaccinated for a Corona variant in cattle for years. No, it’s not the same as the disease we are fighting in humans, but it is in the same family of diseases. Regardless, for me, if I am willing to spend a couple bucks to vaccinate my cows for something, surely my own health is worth it too.
Whatever your personal decision-making process is, you need to be thoughtful about what’s going on in our community. Your friends and your neighbors depend on you, and we need everyone to do their part. Get vaccinated; wash your hands; practice social distancing; wear a mask. Do something. Do all of it if you like. Know the numbers, and evaluate the risk for yourself, your family, your employees, and your fellow man. Then, move forward. I certainly don’t pretend to know all the answers, but I do know that, if Covid continues to ravage us, it is going to be tough on our economy, our workforce, and our nation. Let’s do what we can where we can and put this mess behind us.
For those of you who still believe that you are getting a tracker with the vaccine: You are to report to the giant alien who has landed at the mall and get in line for assimilation and insertion. Good Luck with that!
The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1907 and is more than 1,000 members strong. Using guiding core competencies, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce demonstrates leadership by advocating for business at all levels of government and promoting our community to make the region a better place to live, work, and do business. The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce is also active in the Wyoming Business & Industry Federation, Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Visit cheyennechamber.org for more information.