LETTER from RICHARD STERNBERG
I and multitudes of people, from the President of the United States on down, have tried to convince people to get vaccinated when they are eligible, and to maintain basic public health precautions; wearing masks properly, washing hands and surfaces frequently, and maintaining social distance. Only about 60 percent of the adult population has followed these recommendations and a similar percent say they will get vaccinated.
If this continues, we may never get to go back to things the way they were, because enough of the population will remain vulnerable and the virus will still circulate and mutate. Once it mutates enough, it will defeat the immunity provided by most of the vaccines.
So, to the people who refuse to follow the best practices to eliminate COVID as a continued threat to normal, social, life, if you are not going to get the shot for some reason you picked up through rumor, learned on the internet or because of political position, maybe you will try to protect yourself, friends and family. If not, it is hurting you where it really matters, in the wallet.
Do you see the vicious circle?
I was talking to Al Rubin, CEO of the Otsego Chamber of Commerce and owner of A&D Transport Services about the effect on businesses. Al is very active in the informal coalition that has united to fight this scourge. He has offered his company’s transportation service free of charge to those who can’t find rides to vaccination appointments other ways. These would include public transit, friends and family, through their churches and other houses of worship and public organizations such as Get There at 855-373-4040, Office for the Aging (for those over 60) at 607-547-4232, MAS (for Otsego County Medicaid Beneficiaries at 866-333-1030 and OPT (Oneonta Public Transit) at www.optrides.com.
As of Friday, March 26, OPT had delivered more than 300 free rides.
Al told me that “to continue with positive momentum, to get to a better place and be able to utilize the amazing businesses and organizations in the county,” it is necessary to control the disease.
He said he feels that driving up vaccination rates while obeying public health recommendations will make tourists more comfortable to return to Otsego County.