Thanks to early and diligent preventive measures, Lincoln County has been blessed with one of the lowest incidences of Covid-19 cases in the nation. But! The proposed re-opening of Short-Term Rentals (STR’s) raises some serious questions that the public deserves answers to before any final decision is made on re-opening.
— Should the decision be based on economic wishful thinking, or on the assumption that even a single infected visitor can trigger a cascade of illness and death among county residents? For example: “In South Korea, where a decline in new cases had prompted the government to “loosen up,” the city of Seoul shut down thousands of nightclubs, hostess bars and discos after dozens of infections were linked to clubgoers who went out last weekend as the country relaxed its social-distancing guidelines. Many of the infections were linked to a 29-year-old man who visited three nightclubs before testing positive. Mayor Park Won-soon said health workers were trying to contact some 1,940 people who had been at the three clubs and other places nearby.” *
— Has anyone compared the estimated yearly income from a single STR’s to the more than $70,000 estimate of a single Covid-19 patient’s hospitalization (not even counting insanely expensive ambulance fees, etc.), or even more likely, multiple patients’ costs?
— Has anyone calculated how many people at greatest susceptibility to Covid-19 due to “underlying medical conditions” live in the neighborhood of each STR, and are therefore most likely to die and/or require expensive hospitalization if they catch the disease?
— Has the recent discovery of serious and fatal effects of Covid-19 on children been taken into account in allowing STR’s in neighborhoods where children reside?
— Has anyone done even an informal rough survey of all pharmacies in the county to determine how many residents are taking medications that make them more susceptible to serious and/or fatal effects of Covid-19?
— Will the insurance policies for owners of STR’s cover the costs of all Covid-19 cases traced to their rental units? If not, who will pay those costs? Taxpayers? Local officials who allowed the STR’s to re-open?
— Doesn’t the precautionary principle require no re-opening in the absence of definitive answers to these questions?
Carol Van Strum