In this time of coronavirus uncertainty, ordinary citizens turn this way and that seeking to understand what has happened and what will happen.

The president and his task force offer mixed messages about the origins of the virus, availability of testing, effectiveness of certain treatments, and eventual eradication or control.

The governor provides us with guidance that becomes increasingly frustrating as we watch other counties move to the next phase while we remain in place. What we know seems outstripped by what we don’t know. It’s little wonder that we are frustrated, confused, perhaps angry.

Local media publishes statements and letters from a wide variety of community members all of whom offer us their advice and opinions.

Our public health district and medical practitioners provide us with scientific viewpoints.

Various local elected officials, business owners, and clergy have filed lawsuits based on their understanding of the situation.

All these well meaning voices only add to our confusion and to our inability to unify behind one point of view.

We are not experts and we don’t offer expertise. We are valley residents who want to refocus on the true enemy in our state.

It is a novel virus for which we have no natural immunity. It’s contagious. It kills. It causes great suffering for weeks at a time. It might produce mild symptoms or be asymptomatic. It afflicts us indiscriminately. The virus attacks a judge in her chamber and an agricultural worker in a fruit warehouse.

We know this enemy stalks us most when we are in the close company of others. In an effort to slow the spread, many doors closed. Closed schools parted children from mentors and friends, and shuttered businesses left too many adults without income.

How we all wish this hadn’t been necessary. How much we all long for life without the virus.

We propose refocusing our energies on fighting the virus more and each other less. There isn’t a blue or a red side in this fight. We all want the virus beaten back. We all want people to earn a living and children to reconnect with other children.

The disagreement seems centered on how best to do it. Where are the areas for agreement? How are others doing it?

Kittitas County officials agreed to direct citizens to wear masks in public. Walla Walla businesses formally pledged to follow health and safety directives to make customers feel safer. Leavenworth opened parking areas to foot traffic facilitating social distancing with more outdoor spaces available for curbside and pick up business. The Wenatchee Valley Chamber of Commerce posted a reopening toolkit and convened the Recovery Council that is sponsoring a proactive testing initiative.

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At the state level, Lieutenant Governor Habib launched the Washington Mask Challenge and the state teamed up with United Way and Serve Washington to encourage Washingtonians to make, wear, and donate homemade cloth face masks. All over NCW people are sewing masks for essential workers, for their neighbors and friends, and for anyone who wants one.

Local health agencies advocate wearing masks in public. When everyone wears them, masks suppress the oral aerosolized virus we produce.

Our appeal is to join together in wearing masks in public. In so doing, we not only fight the virus and protect one another, we encourage customers to return to local businesses as they reopen.

Masks are an expression of love — not politics. Cougs wear them. Dawgs wear them. It’s the golden rule in action.

Don’t let the virus trick us into rejecting a vital weapon in the fight. Wear a mask, save a life. Wear a mask, save a business. Embrace the mask until it’s safe to hug each other again. To rephrase an old saying, “We have seen the enemy and it isn’t us. It’s a virus.”

Alma Chacon

Democratic State Committee Woman

Suellen Harris, chairwoman

Twelfth Legislative District Democrats

Karen Keleman, chairwoman

Democrats of Douglas County

Bill Miller, chairman

Democrats of Chelan County