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Letter: What dandelions can teach us about COVID-19

Letter to the Editor Deseret News

I recently passed a house whose front yard had small patches of grass mixed with thousands of yellow and white dandelions. As I looked up the street, there was a clear corridor right along the edge of the sidewalk where the seeds had invaded the yards of many others.

I did some homework and found that dandelions were intentionally introduced by early European settlers. The dandelion is a visible example of how a pandemic spreads. It starts small, either through ignorance or even good intention, but soon spreads to everyone regardless of their involvement in its introduction.

Now, suppose there was a mutation of the dandelion and its pollen turned deadly — a toxic purple dandelion that was indistinguishable from its common yellow cousin until after the flower bloomed. As a society, we would launch a massive eradication effort. We would take on uncomfortable conversations and maybe even purchase an extra bag of weed-and-feed for those that can’t do so themselves. I’m not saying that we would need to shutter society indefinitely, but we would certainly remain vigilant.

As we begin to lift the restrictions from COVID-19, let us remain vigilant in our fight to eradicate this virus. I believe that we can responsibly start to return to some form of normalcy, while applying best practices for preventing the spread. There will be some that incorrectly believe their decisions only impact themselves. Let’s not be like the neighbor with the yard full of weeds throwing caution to the wind.

Jason Andrus

Riverton