I am of two minds. On the one hand, I’m not surprised that Utah state Rep. Phil Lyman would try to persuade Gov. Gary Herbert to ease up on necessary measures to combat the spread of the coronavirus. His extreme views in opposition to the protection of America’s public lands are well known, and it shouldn’t surprise me that he would view other policy issues through the same cracked lens.

Yet, with all that we know about the dangers of the virus, how people can spread it before they show any symptoms, and with elected leaders throughout the country urging people to self-isolate in an effort to contain the virus, it never ceases to amaze me how irresponsible some elected officials can be.

Lyman and the county commissioners who co-signed his letter to the governor should be well aware that a significant percentage of their constituents are elderly and at particular risk of infection.

It is now believed that the high mortality rate among older Italians is due to the fact that younger family members who live in extended families in small towns and villages work in urban areas and bring the virus home.

The difference we see in death rates among nations depends on the strength of countermeasures and the timing of their application. These measures are causing financial pain for friends and neighbors of mine. This pain isn’t limited to rural Utah. But medical experts tell us that the hardships we endure now will help us prevent far greater pain in the future.

Lawson LeGate, Salt Lake City