"Of what?" I asked, looking up from the article I was absorbed in.
But the word escaped him, this particular bunch apparently defying description. Rather he read aloud a few excerpts from the Associated Press article he'd been reading:
"Moments after hearing an Idaho hospital was overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and looking at sending people as far away as Seattle for care, members of a regional health department board voted Thursday to repeal a local mask mandate.
'Most of our medical surgical beds at Kootenai Health are full,' Panhandle Health District epidemiologist Jeff Lee told board members in the state’s third most populated county.
'We’re facing staff shortages, and we have a lot of physician fatigue. This has been going on for seven months — we’re tired,' Lee said.
But the board voted 4-3 to end the mask mandate. Board members overseeing the operations of Idaho’s public health districts are appointed by county commissioners and not required to have any medical experience.
Board member Walt Kirby said he was giving up on the idea of controlling the spread of coronavirus. 'I personally do not care whether anybody wears a mask or not. If they want to be dumb enough to walk around and expose themselves and others, that’s fine with me,' Kirby said. 'Nobody’s wearing the damned mask anyway. ... I’m sitting back and watching them catch it and die. Hopefully I’ll live through it.'
Another board member, Allen Banks, denied COVID-19 exists."
Tom put down the paper, looked at me and said, "Now what do you think of that?"
I answered him with the word that popped into my head. "Colony Collapse."
It seems there's a mysterious disorder that has been afflicting bee hives world-wide since the early 2000's, though it's been more prevalent this year than in previous years. Colony Collapse occurs when the majority of worker bees in a honeybee colony basically abandon their community responsibilities to the hive - in fact, they disappear - which results in the death of the worker bees and the surviving colony becoming so weakened that its remaining members are no longer able to sufficiently pollinate or produce honey, and so the whole colony eventually goes down.
Now, we've learned over the past four years that some human communities are no less vulnerable to a certain orange parasite,
Take the behavior of the members of a Christian church in Moscow, Idaho, one of the towns located in the state's COVID epidemic hot zone, who stood maskless outside their City Hall singing in protest of a public health mask order,
"Yeah," said I. "Colony Collapse."