To the editor:

Today the death count for U.S. coronavirus victims is 51,523. This is not just another number. Maybe it would mean more to us if we compare the number of deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. to the population of Wallowa County, 7,008 in the latest census. Over seven times more people died from this disease in the only 2 or 3 months in the U.S than live in Wallowa County. Wallowa County population is low, so let’s look at LaGrande’s population at 13,082. The number of U.S. deaths from coronavirus is nearly 3 times the population of LaGrande.

It would be easy to forget that 51,523 is more than a number. But the number represents lives that could be our friends, neighbors, people we know. There are many complaints about the methods used to stop the spread of this pandemic, but I think most people in the county want to keep the disease out of Wallowa County. We realize that keeping the coronavirus disease out of our living space is more important than the economic crisis our families are facing. It is a horrible choice to be forced to make, but we are making it because we have to for the sake of our families’ survival.

Evelyn Swart

Joseph, Oregon

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