EDITORIAL: Include EMS in Phase 1a

THERE WILL BE SCREW-UPS. There may be questionable choices too. Bad actors will prey on the misery of others. And that may not be the worst of it.

But we’ve done this before—trying to vaccinate practically everybody in the United States. Most of us didn’t experience or don’t remember the bad stuff associated with previous vaccines. And we didn’t suffer from some nasty diseases. So will anyone remember that emergency medical services (EMS) personnel were left off the list of the care providers slated to get the first round of the Covid-19 vaccine?

The members of the Columbia County EMS Advisory Board noticed the absence of EMS personnel on the list of people designated as eligible for Phase 1a. of the Covid vaccination roll-out. And last week Steven Meehan, secretary of the county EMS Advisory Board, sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and the commissioner of the state Department of Health, Dr. Howard Zucker, urging them to put the EMS workers on the list. (Mr. Meehan’s letter is in this issue.) Read more…

EDITORIAL: We can recover with help

THIS JUST IN: Last year Columbia County had the highest rate of growth among the six counties in the Hudson Valley region in terms of tourism spending. With tourism spending up 5.2% accompanied by a 4.2% growth in tourism tax revenues, the rate of growth in this industry is ahead of Dutchess and even Westchester County.

Ahhh. Remember tourism? Back in 2019 out-of-towners, “city people,” foreigners and neighbors pumped an estimated $177 million into this county. They supported more than 2,400 jobs and what amounted to over 11% of our economy. We were happy to have their business. Most of us.

The statistics come from research by Tourism Economics, a subsidiary of Oxford Economics. The numbers are compiled in “Economic Impact of Visitors in New York/Hudson Valley Focus.” The company collects and analyzes tourism data from around the world and while there are no surprises, it reports on its website that “city tourism” in North America is off by 70% or more and won’t return to its 2019 levels until 2024. New York City will take the biggest hit, the company says. That will have ripples here. Read more…

EDITORIAL: ‘Truth Be Told’

THANK YOU KINDERHOOK! You have managed to distract us, briefly, from the shadow of the virus and the fact-less howls of the present president. All the more reason to welcome the debate over “Truth Be Told.” This must be a sign.

Literally. Village of Kinderhook Code Enforcement Officer Peter Bujanow has determined that the words “Truth Be Told” spelled out in neatly cut sheets of a vinyl material called ScotchCal Graphic Film and stuck to the side of the former Martin Van Buren elementary school on Route 9 prove that the words are, technically, a sign.

You can’t miss it. A broad lawn separates the two-story brick building from the road. The black letters on the facade are 21 feet tall and stretch more than the length of the 161-foot structure. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Post should say more

THE DATE THAT MATTERS is December 4. Nothing much out of the ordinary is likely to show up earlier, though how we and our neighbors behave on November 26 may give us a clue.

Eight days is an estimate of when the symptoms may begin to appear. At least some of people exposed to the coronavirus on Thanksgiving Day will test positive for Covid-19 by the first week of December. It can happen sooner or later by a week or more. The number of people exposed determines how many new cases we’ll see. That grim number will be followed by a rise in the number of hospitalizations. Then come the deaths.

Governor Andrew Cuomo thinks the public doesn’t appreciate the number of cases of Covid-19 we will see all across New York State in the weeks after Thanksgiving. So last week he signed an executive order that restricts Thanksgiving gatherings to no more than 10 people. Read more…

EDITORIAL: Choose freedom, not virus

WHAT DOES IT MEAN if there are over 55 million cases of this damn virus worldwide? Exactly how does it affect our lives that the number of Covid-19 cases is 11.3 million and rising in the U.S.?

It’s easier to pick a day. How about Tuesday, November 17? At that point we had 93 “active cases” of Covid-19 in Columbia County. You probably could have seen that many people in Walmart that day if you were shopping there or getting your annual flu vaccine shot, not that the store has a connection to the pandemic.

Now multiply the active cases by 5 to account for the people who are under mandatory quarantine and you get a total of over 450 people who have temporarily “disappeared” from life as we know it in Columbia County. Read more…