Viral Comments from the Corral
By Steve Komadina

Are we tired yet of the ongoing, uninterrupted reporting on the pandemic of 2020? Have you had friends and relatives affected? Have there been deaths in your family? Are you as a business owner worried about making payroll?
Are you closing for good? Have you had to lay off or been laid off of your job? Did you run out of the necessities of life? Are your neighbors seeming to be too close despite the one-acre minimum lot size? Did you have to cancel plans for travel? Are your children or grandchildren now in your home 24 hours a day?
Do you or do you not wear a mask? Who do you believe on the news? Are there hidden agendas and conspiracies? Who do we blame? Which will get us first: the health or the economic crisis?
And there are another hundred questions with a myriad of answers!
Corrales has experienced viral epidemics in the past in the horse community. West Nile Virus, Vesticular Stomatitis, Strangles and others pass through frequently. Horses sometimes die.
Human infections are just as frequent, but often do not catch our attention. For the last 10 years I have worked on a joint agency project to create herd immunity for measles in West Africa. Did you know millions of children die there each year from measles? Wonder how that was missed by the news?
Thousands of children are taken from parents and sold into slavery each year in Nepal, but that misses the news as well. Terrible things are happening around the world all the time, yet we selectively get fed the news selected by someone.
Maybe we only hear the things we can do something about. Can I as an individual make a difference in the mortality rate of COVID-19 pandemic? We are told yes. Limit human to human contact. Let it pass through like the western pine beetle. Keep people with multiple medical problems away from everyone. Guard the elderly and infirm. Do what you are told.
The problem is the future. No one can tell us what is going to happen tomorrow or next week or next month. Would you want to be the mayor or governor or president who was blamed for killing millions of people by not doing anything anyone suggested for stopping the pandemic? Of course not.
So, they have us do everything that anyone suggests. If we only had a crystal ball. If we could only see the end of the story rather than living it a day at a time.
The problem is the experts who do not agree. Here is a perfect example from the April 1, 2020 New England Journal of Medicine. “We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to COVID-19 as face-to-face contact within six feet with a patient with symptomatic COVID-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching COVID-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.”
Wow…. By the time this article is published, we may have mandatory masks.
So, we are blessed in Corrales because of the low density of human beings and the high density of horses. Even though I am a doctor, and still see patients daily in compliance with the governor’s order, I am as helpless as all of you. I can hardly wait to get home to the safety of horse poop, alfalfa and water troughs.
We all pray that whoever reads this article will be alive to read the next edition. That is not a joke or offered in a flippant way. We just do not know what might happen to any of us.
I can pray for all of our safety. And when the pandemic is all over, I hope you will wave when you see me on the trail.

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