The decision by the Union County Board of Commissioners to approve a resolution last week protesting Gov. Kate Brown’s COVID-19 mandates wasn’t much of a surprise, and in the end it probably won’t make much difference in terms of what is fast becoming a high-octane debate regarding the virus.

To be clear, this newspaper believes whether a person choses to get a COVID-19 vaccination is a personal matter, best decided between a patient and their health care provider.

However, while not scientific, we are confident that most health care providers — the subject matter experts — would recommend vaccinations.

The decision by the county board, though, underscores how a medical and public health matter has spilled over into the public forum and become a lightning rod in certain areas of the state.

It is unfortunate the lines between medicine, public health and political rhetoric have become so blurred. While not exactly unexpected currently, the impact from such blurring is evident in measures like the one created and OK’d by the board of commissioners.

What really matters isn’t so much the political aspect of this debate but the effect it can have on those who are trying hard to wrestle and defeat another surge in the COVID-19 virus.

The virus is alive and well in Union County. And it is killing people.

Often the refrain is “Well, COVID-19 isn’t that bad. Most recover from it.”

What if you are one of those the virus does hit hard? What if you are one of those who dies from the virus? What then? The virus is more than a nuisance, or a vague concept, for those who die from it.

The emphasis has shifted from a medical issue to a political one and that is where the public, at large, loses.

Whether we like it or not we have a major public health crisis going on and people continue to perish because of it. Much like the Titanic, while people die, the band, so to speak, plays on, and elected leaders quickly jump on the boat to chastise the governor.

Our emphasis should be on stemming a public health crisis and saving actual lives, not picking political battles.

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