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Remember, elements of the Editorial page are opinion - but it will be nice when the Editorial page is no longer a COVID battleground

Can it be? Can the pandemic be nearing its end?

Unless another variant rises from the ashes, as the delta did last summer, and its weaker yet more spastically contagious cousin omicron did this late fall, we may very well be out of this mess, on the most part, by sometime in the spring.

But, gee, what will be left to fight over?

Sure, the two years of mask-wearing, the canceled events, social distancing, it's all been a psychological punch in the gut. To me, though, the biggest soul-sucker has been the constant public battle thrown at the government/science/medical consensus on how to address COVID and the fired-up, liberty-infused multitudes that know better.

The battle has raged everywhere, of course, from grocery stores to school board meetings. Newspapers are a regular battle front and combatant.

A reader recently slammed us for running a column by our Kiva Hanson outlining her horrible sickness after catching COVID. Why did we run that when the vast majority of people hardly get sick at all with current virus, was the complainer's point.

In Prineville, our paper recently ran a couple letters to the editor from people professing alternative methods to ward off sickness from COVID. A day later, we got an angry reader saying he was going to cancel his subscription if we didn't run a correction the following week. His wife was a cancer patient whose hospital care time was being impacted by unvaccinated COVID patients, and he was tired of the misinformation.

He had a great point, but it also reminded me that we should, on a more regular basis, remind people: By definition, letters are a forum for the opinions of our readers and community members, not necessarily expressions of fact.

We also acknowledge that there can be a sense of validation for any and all opinions that are published, no matter where in the newspaper. However, we won't start fact-checking every letter, making vast substance corrections other than grammatical, or discarding letters that we don't agree with or that we think are light on fact. That goes against the spirit, as we see it, of letters to the editor.

If letters are of public interest (not private in nature) and not libelous, don't slam a business, it's likely they will qualify for inclusion in our letters section. It is up to our readers to understand that editorials, columns and letters on the Editorial page are not presented as facts, just points of discussion.

But certainly, COVID is a vital important issue on many levels and misinformation has had dire effects. The opinion this newspaper has put forth is to back the vast majority of the medical and scientific community in endorsing vaccinations, wearing masks and social distancing for keeping people better protected against COVID —and with vaccinations, much better protected against serious sickness, hospitalization and death.

You can probably find a website expert to say staring at the afternoon sun in your underwear while holding a golf club in one hand and a gin and tonic in the other, but only while wearing swimming flippers, will keep you free from COVID. That doesn't mean it's correct.

Wait, bad example. Outside of the flippers, I've probably done that ... then again, I haven't gotten COVID, so, maybe ...


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