Let’s play a little mind game. Suppose the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. had been concentrated just in Maine. The 1.3 million confirmed cases would mean every man, woman and child in the state would have had the disease. The virus would have killed every citizen in Auburn, Lewiston and Turner. (I wonder who will milk all those cows, pick the apples and gather the eggs, but I digress.) Also would be gone the citizens of Leeds, Greene, Minot, Buckfield, Hartford, Canton, Sumner and a good portion of Paris.

Luckily, in reality, there are only six states with fewer confirmed cases and deaths than Maine. The state’s isolation and policy of containment promulgated by Gov. Mills have been key to that success. Mills has been able to secure more testing, which has allowed her to relax some of the restrictions that have been put into place.

But I worry about the influx of tourists in the coming months. How will the governor be able to enforce the 14-day quarantine?

Observations from the past would suggest a lot of tourists would be from Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey — all hot spots of the virus. Will they cause Maine to become a hot spot? Does Maine have the capacity to treat more than a couple hundred cases at a time?

We should be wary of “opening the state” too soon. Containment is still the key to not increasing preventable deaths.

Remember: it’s six feet apart or it could be six feet under.

Linwood Gilbert, Turner

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