By Cathy Iino, First Selectman, Killingworth.
In the face of a surging pandemic, this year’s celebration of Veterans Day has been more quiet and private than usual. That gave me a chance to think about the history of the holiday. It grew out of Armistice Day, which commemorated the end of World War I on the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. A year later, President Wilson proclaimed a day to honor the heroism of those who fought the war, and in 1938, the U.S. Congress created the permanent holiday as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.” In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a law changing the name to Veterans Day, to honor American veterans of all wars.
Peace and military heroism. Sometimes we think those are opposing values. But it turns out that those who created the holiday saw the quest for peace as a way of recognizing the enormous sacrifices made by those who fight our wars. As we honor American veterans, let us work toward the day when such sacrifices are no longer required, and let us take care of our veterans at home as they defended us overseas.
The number of Killingworth COVID cases has been rising steadily for a couple of weeks and now stands at 43. It took us six months to get to 22 cases and only seven weeks to double that number. Statewide recent increases are even more dramatic: there have been 33 cases per 100,000 population over the last seven days; almost 600 COVID patients are currently hospitalized; and the cumulative death toll stands at 4,716.
Understanding of the coronavirus and how it spreads continues to develop. The latest research shows that masks protect not only others—as had been thought—but the wearer as well. Wearing a tightly woven, multi-layer mask can reduce your exposure to fine virus particles significantly.
Other research confirms that crowded indoor spaces are the riskiest for spread of the virus. The research also indicates that reducing occupancy of restaurants—some of the riskiest locations—can limit the rate of infection. Governor Lamont recently reduced the maximum occupancy of restaurants back down to 50 percent, in line with this data.
The more we can limit the spread of the coronavirus, the longer we can keep in-person learning in our schools and the sooner our businesses will be able to fully recover. You have probably heard that Pfizer has had some very positive test results for a COVID vaccine. Nevertheless, we need to follow the COVID safety protocols until a vaccine is widely administered. The thought of not spending Thanksgiving with all the family and friends we are accustomed to sharing it with is heartbreaking, but so is the thought of hospitals overwhelmed with cases and rising death tolls.
Stay safe and carry on.