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Time for sacrifice over, now play ball

To the editor:

Thank you Cache County Sheriff’s Office for having common sense during a confusing, scary and often contradictory time. I miss baseball. I cannot imagine looking onto a baseball field with kids finally playing, and having the urge to call authorities. Our neighborhoods, normally filled with the familiar “ting” of bats this time of year, have been sitting silent long enough.

Although all U.S. states have reported cases of COVID-19, the cases and deaths have remained heavily concentrated in a small number of states and counties. As of May 4, Just 10 states (not Utah) account for 70% of all U.S. cases and 77% of all deaths. New York and New Jersey account for 38% of all cases and 48% of total deaths. Five states, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, and California, account for 54% of all confirmed cases in the U.S. and 61% of all deaths. 30 counties account for 50% of all cases and 57% of all deaths. Just 1% of the counties in the U.S. have HALF of the country’s cases and more than half of the deaths. Of those 30 counties, 24 are in the Northeast corridor between Philadelphia and Boston, the passageway served by a commuter railway system that runs through Manhattan. Only 11% of the counties in the U.S. contain nearly 95% of all deaths. Fifty-two percent of all U.S. counties, including ours, have had ZERO COVID-19 deaths.

Why would the counties minimally affected continue to hide in fear? Being isolated can be frightening. That’s why the most severe punishment, besides capital punishment, is solitary confinement.

Loneliness depresses the immune system, hampers sleep quality and contributes to impulsive behavior and substance abuse. Five Utahns already die every week of opiate overdose. Loneliness has been linked to dementia, and increased inflammation. Loneliness has been compared to smoking, obesity, heart disease, physical inactivity and air pollution regarding human health. It changes the body’s response to bacteria, viruses and glucose. Patients in hospitals should not be alone. Oxytocin, the hormone released through social connection and touch, can lower levels of cortisol, the body’s primary stress hormone, reducing pain and decreasing blood pressure. When we’re deprived of touch, stress, fatigue and depression levels rise. Utah already has a suicide epidemic. Suicide among Utah children aged 10–17 increased 46.5% since 2011 and is substantially higher than national average. (2018 report CDC).

We’ll never forget 2020. Heartache from loss of loved-ones, funerals, graduations, weddings, entire sport seasons, birthdays, important events, being with those in need and more. It’s time for recovery. We isolated and flattened the curve. We didn’t overwhelm our hospitals. We did what was asked. We gave up our freedoms. Finally, state officials are acknowledging statistics. Play ball!

Loy Hunt


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