I am an avid hiker, backpacker, rock climber and skier. But if I were to die from COVID-19, I would be described as “female, between the ages of 70-85, with underlying conditions.” Gives a different image, doesn’t it?
Words matter. And thus I am concerned about two COVID-19-related phrases our state employs that are simply wrong.
When we move from orange to yellow to green, we talk about “risk.” Green is “new-normal risk,” while yellow is “low risk.” Yet these levels have nothing to do with risk; in fact, Utah’s contagion rate is now one of the highest in the nation. The colors simply reflect whether there’s a bed available for you in the intensive care unit.
Also disingenuous is the three-week “recovered” statistic. “Recovered,” in this case, means “still alive.” Yet many COVID-19 sufferers have debilitating symptoms for months, some with permanent scarring to lungs and other organs.
We are asking people to wear masks and maintain a 6-foot margin. But where is the incentive to comply when told our risk is minimal?
I get opening up so people’s livelihoods are protected. But in this high-risk stage, please require — not suggest — that retail employees and customers wear masks.
Because words matter.
Salt Lake City