A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

To stop the virus, let state tell us more

Written November 7th, 2020 by Hasso Hering

The fall colors along Albany’s riverfront are nice, but they can’t hide the fact that Oregon is failing to control the spread of Covid-19.

Day after day the Oregon Health Authority reports record numbers of new cases. On Saturday it reported 988, the highest number since the pandemic began. (It also reported 13 more deaths, but most of those happened in October so they were hardly new.)

In response to the worsening trend, Governor Brown announced a two-week curtailment of certain businesses and activities in five counties. This sounds like a modified lockdown. But the lockdown of the spring didn’t stop the disease, so it’s hard to see how a modified version will do much besides eliminating more jobs.

What should we do instead? The state should give the public more specific information so citizens can try to protect themselves better.

On Saturday, the Health Authority said eight of the new cases were in Benton County and 12 in Linn. This is interesting but not helpful. Where in Linn or Benton did the cases occur? What ages were affected? What occupations? How and where, if anyone knows, did they get it? Are the afflicted persons quarantined or hospitalized?

The Health Authority provides no details because by law it must protect people’s privacy. But if the spread of Covid threatens the lives of fellow citizens, protecting individuals’ privacy would seem to be of lesser concern.

Everyone you see in public — in the stores, anyway, and even sometimes walking their dog on the street — wears a mask as instructed. Presumably we all wash our hands whenever we get the chance. We give strangers a wide berth when we can, though often it’s impossible because of narrow aisles.

We do all that and still the virus spreads. We need to know more if we want the opposite result. (hh)

36 responses to “To stop the virus, let state tell us more”

  1. Jack Burright says:

    Kate can shove it

  2. Phil says:

    The efforts would be more effective if we had 100% compliance with the mask requirements. Is the law ineffective or are there enough Oregonians who don’t comply to have caused the outbreaks?

    • Al Nyman says:

      I’m involved with a company which makes masks. Cotton masks are great for attracting the virus as soon as they get wet. I saw a study which stated that 85% of new cases the people adhered to the mask protocol. Does anybody look at statistics which show, especially in Hawaii that cases sky rocketed when masks were required outside.

    • Craig says:

      Quite a few churches are against the masks. I know of a large church in the area, the preacher is very against masks. He is respected by his followers and they somehow feel the same way. God’s going to protect them, like God protected Trump.

      Let’s trust the Pastor’s gut feel, forget about those scientists that have dedicated their lives and energies to understand these threats.

      We live in the age of enlightenment, what a time to be alive.

  3. Rick says:

    We never had a lockdown. We may have had a modified reduction of activity, but it certainly was not the lockdown that actual experts suggested at the time. I’m not sure an actual lockdown would have stopped this disease, but certain leadership scoffed(and still scoffs) at this disease in public, while apparently having been informed more about the disease.

    Wear a mask, wash your hands, we are in this thing for the long run.

    • Craig says:

      I don’t think the lock down was ineffective. I certainly agree it was an ineffective lock down. I think it was just too early. I am not an expert. But I don’t think the virus had a foothold.

      I do think the virus is coming and we need to do things to prevent it, but judging by everyone’s behavior in Albany, we are doomed.

      The good news is 97.5% of us will be fine, a bad cold. It’s the 2.5% I feel sorry about.

      • Lundy says:

        Perhaps we should be targeting our efforts at protecting the 2.5% rather than taking blanket measures that make no health difference for most people but definitely make an economic difference?

  4. Michael says:

    Maybe Kate should stop the riots.

  5. Gordon L. Shadle says:

    With Trump on his way out, it’s time to stop questioning the government.

    Our President-elect has the solution. Everyone, including illegal immigrants, “will not have to pay a dollar out-of-pocket for visits related to COVID-19 testing, treatment, preventative services, and any eventual vaccine. No co-payments, no deductibles, and no surprise medical billing.”

    Trust government. Conform & comply. Free stuff.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

  6. Craig says:

    Hasso, you are so right. We need more info.

    What are the ages?
    Zip code?

    Keeping us better informed is the easiest way to stay safe.

    • Ray Kopczynski says:

      I struggle with this hypothetical…

      We find out there has been 25 cases of Covid-19 in Linn Co. during a given week.
      We find out which zip codes they are in.
      We find out which businesses they are spread across: 8 businesses, 3 assisted-living centers, & 7 individuals…
      We also find out whether or not they’re hospitalized or asymptomatic

      Tell me exactly how knowing that information will help in any meaningful way?
      Especially since contact-tracing has been hit & miss when taking into consideration people unwilling to even divulge who they have been in contact with!

      Knowing the above, I don’t see folks changing their habits. If they haven’t by now, they never will.

      I’ll stick with with common sense and wearing a mask…

      • Gordon L. Shadle says:

        You should try some uncommon sense – an N95 mask can filter particles down to 0.3 microns.

        COVID19 can be as small as 0.06 microns.

        Kinda like trying to stop a mosquito with a chain link fence.

        • Billh says:

          For once I agree with Gordon.

        • sonamata says:

          COVID particles aren’t traveling alone, so their individual size isn’t relevant. They travel in respiratory droplets typically much larger than the mask’s pore size, preventing it from spreading.

          • Gordon L. Shadle says:

            The risk of large droplets that fall to the ground may justify a policy of physical distancing, not masks.

            Airborne microdroplets DO present a real risk that 6′ physical distancing and a mask (most worn improperly) simply can’t mitigate.

            The best policy is to avoid being physically close to others. But good luck using government to impose that mandate on people.

            Wear a mask if it makes you feel good. But don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s half as effective as you think it is.

      • Rich Kellum says:

        1 don’t go to that business, 2 don’t go to that assisted living center, 3 don’t go to those individual persons houses…………. Still missing is how many people got over it under what circumstances………. there is a reason that government does not want us to know that, I do not know what it is but the information would not hurt us and the Governor refuses to include it in the announcements.

        • Ray Kopczynski says:

          If every one did, in fact, “not go to that business…”, you’re implying that a single instance in any of those would then result in an effective lockdown of the business…

          “… there is a reason that government does not want us to know that…”
          Quoting HH: “…no details because by law it must protect people’s privacy.”

        • hj.anony1 says:

          Well ….get out there. You are still a government man. Tick tock.

          Maybe you can get better contact tracing and compile all the necessary, accurate data. Doubt it.

          People forget, lie or don’t remember all the places and people they have interacted with. That is why the state doesn’t report what you are asking for folks.

  7. Richard Vannice says:

    I don’t know what stores you go into or what streets you walk on Hasso but “Every one” is not wearing a mask! I have seen people walk into a store with a mask on and then pull it down while inside and nothing is said to them by employees or management.
    Sad state of affairs..

  8. thomas earl cordier says:

    Another aspect of poor info is the impact on public schools. Our GAPS Supt has not been in her office for 7 months and now she endorses Black Lives Matter Marxist group. Who are those who think we have systemic racism in Albany. Goss is a disaster–keeping schools closed–dumbing down students. The school board will not hold Supt accountable by demanding schools to open. Teacher unions care more about themselves than open education. Decisions to stop education is based on poor information coming from so-called experts. The experts made poor decisions from the start–they really did not know what they claimed to know and are still viewed by many as an experts. Not Me

  9. Chaim Uri says:

    If 1 person infects 2 people who each infect 2 people & so on 16 times over, more people will have been infected than live in Linn County. Social distancing, hand washing, mask wearing works faster when implemented as soon as possible with full compliance. Church services, political rallies (left or right-virus doesn’t care, gatherings of family & friends, eating in restaurants poorly ventilated, etc. can transmit the virus. It transmits like a flu virus but is a new virus. It is hard for a lot of people to comply for economic reasons & all a government can do is inform us & do their best to facilitate compliance when possible through stuff like economic aid etc. Fostering conspiracy theories, acting like it’s not there, tough guy posturing, etc. confuses people & makes it worse & is selfish at best & deadly at worst. We need to put our differences aside to deal with it effectively. I spent 17 years living in Asia & learned from it the strong points & weak points of how we Americans think, by comparison. We are an amazing people but very individualistic which is a great thing but doesn’t serve us in situations like this. We need to cooperate more to solve this problem.

    • Gordon L. Shadle says:

      Go back and read Hasso’s article.

      Gov. Brown and the Oregon Health Authority (you gotta love that name) has not fully informed the public.

      Their authoritarian instincts and obfuscation has only aided the spread of the virus.

  10. centrist says:

    Knowing the stats on cases comforts some, but that doesn’t contribute one iota to a solution.
    Having a “covering” on the face is not the same as properly wearing a 3-layer mask.
    Most common failure is leaving the nose out.
    Draping a silk or lace kerchief covers the nose, but not the mouth. The weave provides no filtration.
    The open area of shields and visors negates their usefulness as barriers.
    Gaiters (sp?) look cool, but they’re single layer.
    Wear a proper mask properly

  11. Birdieken says:

    If you’re at risk, self quarantine and stay at home. If you’re in the high risk group throw in a face mask, then others would know your especially vulnerable.

    • Chaim Uri says:

      The face mask protects the other person more than the wearer so wearing it to alert others you’re at risk won’t help you if the other person doesn’t have the mask either on or with them to begin with. Also; if I’m not mistaken, although people in high risk groups are statistically more prone to infection, it isn’t like others are immune. As asymptomatic transmission is also possible, no one knows who is or isn’t infected. We went through this with the so-called Spanish flu already. Places like Korea did well because they acted immediately. Masks, social distancing, testing when needed, contact tracing, quarantine & a good example set by our leaders are what is needed. We’ve got people openly (with & without firearms) defying mask policies as their right under the constitution & some of them get infected & then in turn infect family & friends, including infants, children, old people & others. Sounds pretty selfish to me. Nobody likes to stay at home all the time & eat their own cooking. As an ex-smoker I am extremely fond of late breakfasts in smoky diners washed down by lots of black coffee. I had to adapt 1st to no cigarettes & now to no diner not to mention the owners of the diner having to adapt to huge loss of income.

  12. Birdieken says:

    Face shield

  13. centrist says:

    Just reread the piece. The lockdown wasn’t intended to stop the virus. That would have been magical and improbable. The purpose was to slow the advance while infectious disease specialists figured out how to deal with the little devil. If folks take time to look at the data, they’ll see that the plan worked pretty well until recently.
    With regard to tracing, some commenters want every case identified and traced, with the info publicly available. Those commenters have been known to call “government overreach” for less-complicated issues that don’t require confidentiality.
    Guess it depends on whose ox is being gored

  14. Rich O. says:

    What is really sad here is that so many people want to criticize everything government without offering any alternate viable solution. It’s always easy to blame someone else; as we have seen for the last four years. Opinions are one thing, we all have them; but, please offer some solutions with them.

    Yes, I agree, more information about infections would seem to be helpful in avoiding similar circumstances. Contact tracing would be helpful, but then there are some people that seem to think it is infringing on their rights. So what do you do about them?

    Now, you can go ahead and bash me too; but, at least include some solutions with your comments.

  15. Bob Woods says:

    Ever hear of Google? Try “Oregon covid cases by zip code”

    Marion County Health has been providing zip code for quite a while

    If you seek, you shall find….

  16. Bill Kapaun says:

    Masks aren’t 100% effective.

    Birth control isn’t 100% effective, but IF BOTH partners practice BC, the incidence of pregnancy is near ZERO.

    This virus is like an orgy folks!

  17. Bob Woods says:

    Some more links for people. The state puts out a huge amount of information for people who take the time to actually LOOK.

    OHA Main site:

    Weekly Report from OHA – 44 pages of data; been issued weekly for months. Scroll down and click. (Zip Code data is at the back)

    If you like visuals, check out the Dashboards….

  18. Medicine Woman says:

    You find what you seek! Stop looking for this virus and get back to living. Wash your hands, stay home if you’re sick.

  19. Tina says:

    What do we need to know? Seems to me we have been informed for months what we need to do. However, we have had a President who relied on Magic Fairies who were going to make Covid Magically Disappear! The science has been out there but people have refused to heed the warnings so here we are!
    As a person who has experienced Covid first hand. Yeah. It really is none of your business. The Health Authority does not need to tell you who has it or any other details. Just like the Specialists who treated Donald did not need to tell us any real information.
    What I will share is this. We are at a point of near impossible contract tracing. Many people are asymptomatic so they are going about their business spreading the virus to some of the most vulnerable people in our communities.
    What can you do? Wear your mask. A Three Ply Disposable is best. Cloth are nasty virus catchers and all too often tossed into a pocket and not being washed. Wash your hands. Sanitize your phone and your keys and things your touch in your household frequently. Don’t have or attend large events. Social Distance even when outside. Throw your dirty masks into the trash not the streets or shopping carts. Follow the dammed guidelines!
    I have been quarantined for weeks now. I am quarantined because somewhere out there the virus picked up and brought home. Even with my best effort to protect myself and my family. This is why We, as a Community Must Cooperate, and Help Stop the Spread of Covid.


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