COVID-19, which has sickened 9.1 million worldwide and 2.3 million in America, is often spread by people who don’t know they have it, which is what makes “stay home if you’re sick” and “stay home if you don’t want to get sick” inadequate and inappropriate responses.  Anyone’s incautious behavior makes the outbreak worse for everyone.

Safety at the county fair will end up largely “counting on everyone to do the right thing,” and that strategy is an abdication of responsibility.  Any trip to any public place clearly shows that many people are not feeling cautious right now.  

Fairgoers crowd together for hours at a time.  That’s what a fair is.  This year’s events, no matter how limited, will draw stir-crazy out-of-town visitors whose own counties have cancelled their fairs.  The five counties that border Jackson have combined for a COVID caseload about 45 times higher than Jackson County’s.

The fair will make some money and entertain some people, but one reckless fairgoer could give the whole area a very nasty fall and winter.  The morale boost and the economic boost will dry right up if business shuts down again because person-to-person transmission ramps up in the month after the fair, just in time to make a nightmare of sending your kids back to school. 

There is no precaution so effective as just not holding your event during a massive disease outbreak.  With COVID still spreading like crazy and treatment still mostly limited to hoping to get better, why create more risk?  Everyone is tired of feeling bored, but bored beats deathly ill any day.

Mike Earles