Missing the point
Preston Jones misses the point about safety in regards to coronavirus in his June 3 column. There’s a good reason all those
places are closed. While schoolchildren may not be as susceptible to covid-19 as the general population, they still can and do get the virus, but more importantly, they can carry it to their families and anyone else they come in contact with. Since teachers and school staff are in a cohort much more prone to catching the virus, and more likely to have the compounding factors — age, various infirmities, compromised immune systems — the kids can even infect those folks, as well as their grandparents.
We are still learning about covid-19, and the landscape changes daily. A recent study found that between 35-50 percent of people who are carrying the virus are asymptomatic, yet still contagious. They can spread the disease even though they have no idea they have it. Another study recently showed that wearing a mask can reduce the likelihood of spreading covid-19 by up to 75 percent; even that modest measure goes a long way toward reducing the spread of the disease.
Since he brings it up, it’s true that the First Amendment prohibits the government from making laws regarding the establishment of religion. However, it has also been shown that large groups in a confined space allow the virus to spread much more effectively than other settings. If there is singing, the droplets expelled spread farther than just speaking, adding to the risk of contagion. Restricting religious services is not about establishing or prohibiting religion. It’s about public safety. Apparently the lesson of Greer’s Ferry Assembly of God, where 35 of 92 attendees came down with covid-19, three of them dying, is lost on Mr. Jones.
All of us have had to make adjustments in our lifestyles as a result of the covid-19 pandemic. To many, it has been costly, and to some, devastating both personally and professionally. Reopening businesses, churches and schools is an important goal, but needs to be done responsibly so as not to place those who are more highly susceptible to the virus at unnecessary risk. Since there is not yet a vaccine, or a treatment for covid-19, simple things like wearing a mask, wearing gloves, and washing one’s hands go a long way toward protecting the most vulnerable.
Reply to “Cult of Safety, Cult of Fear”
Each year the U.S. death rate for the flu is a fraction of 1 percent, for example, the numbers for the 2017-2018 flu season were 48,800,000 infections resulting in 79,000 deaths, which equals .0161 percent death rate.
The current numbers for covid 19 in the U.S. are 1.87 million reported infections and 108,000 reported deaths which equals 5.77 percent death rate.
Our only defenses against the coronavirus are social distancing and wearing Personal Protective Equipment, there is no vaccine as yet on which we can rest our laurels. For the general population face masks are the only real PPE choice.
Professor Jones begins his diatribe against the befuddled advice of the experts in epidemiology and virology with this arrogant and condescending statement, “Our lesson for today (boys and girls?)…”
His expertise is allegedly in history not the medical field but, he thinks he is an “authority” on the coronavirus so, he contradicts the experts in their fields instead of teaching from history, the disastrous effect of “mask resistance in the Spanish Flu.” (Google that to the History Channel).
The experts explicitly stated from day one that there was more about the coronavirus they didn’t know than they did know. But as they analyze more they learn more and still have more to learn. For example, they now know that children do get infected and some are affected with severe complications related to the virus. They have known for some time that asymptomatic people, including school children, can and do infect people more susceptible to the seriousness of the virus.
Professor Jones is spreading false and dangerous misinformation and because some lesser informed people regard him as an “authority figure,” they disregard the very measures needed to quell the virus and spread his dogma.
My wife and I are in our 80s, the highest risk group. A case in fact, the death rate for ages 75+ in New York City reached 48.7 percent and 70.5 percent for those of us with underlying conditions by May 13. People who wear masks because they understand the main purpose is to protect the most vulnerable are the ones who are living the “Golden Rule.”