Editor: The following Nov. 16 letter was emailed to Burlington Free Press reporter Elizabeth Murray in response to a Nov. 13 news article in which state officials blamed Halloween parties and a bowling league outing as ‘superspreader’ events. The letter is reprinted with permission of the author. It also refers indirectly to the well-attended downtown celebration Saturday, Nov. 7 after the media decision to call the 2020 election for Joe Biden.
Dear Ms. Murray:
After reading your article on the source of recent COVID outbreaks, which pointed to TWO Halloween parties and ONE weekend bowling league, I could not help noticing the glaring omission of the mass gatherings two weekends ago, all over Vermont, but most especially here in Burlington. I live in downtown Burlington and was inundated with people on the streets walking en masse, most of them not wearing masks, and blatantly disregarding the dictate against group gatherings. Not to mention the people packed in vehicles all about town, hanging out of the windows, screaming and honking to people on the streets.
What madness is this that the governor, and now the Burlington Free Press, continues to push the false premise that somehow two Halloween parties, a bowling league, and some anecdotal hypotheticals about deer camps, etc., are to blame, while intentionally ignoring mass gatherings? Surely, if there are any upticks in numbers, it is this event that is squarely to blame.
Why didn’t the Mayor of Burlington or the Governor of Vermont come out against the behavior that weekend? Why was it allowed to take place at all instead of immediately shutting it down? Does COVID take a back seat when the politics are favorable? (The answer is of course, yes.) Yet we are made to feel repentant should we even dare to think about visiting another person outside of our homes. I personally have not seen my mother in person since March of this year. You can imagine how some of us feel upon seeing this behavior not only wholly accepted, but completely unreported as even a possible link to higher infections.
I would appreciate an explanation as to where and how you chose your facts for this story. And why the event of two weekends ago did not even receive a mention.