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Letter to the editor

by Tom Beckett | April 7, 2021 at 5:25 a.m.

Apples and oranges

Preston Jones may be on to something with his suggestion for the Siloam Springs graduating class. Barnhill Arena ought to be spacious enough to accommodate their class. The question is, will there be enough people vaccinated by then to allow such an event without putting not only the class in jeopardy of infection, but all the other attendees? It may be that, come graduation day, there is not sufficient immunization to confer enough immunity to prevent spread of disease at what might turn out to be a superspreader event. As it stands now, if the district allows the graduation to go on as he suggests, there will still need to be the current covid precautions taken. Mask up!

The first part of his column, however, shows he is either willfully ignorant of, or just doesn't get, the seriousness of the covid pandemic. Comparing the 550,000 (and counting) deaths in the United States to 600,000 deaths from heart disease is comparing apples and oranges. The important distinction there is that heart disease is not highly contagious; covid is. I will not catch coronary artery blockage from the guy behind me at Cathy's who is eating a chicken fried steak and fries with gravy. If he is carrying covid, I could very well contract it by being in close proximity to him, especially if he is not masked.

It's unfortunate that the entire country -- indeed, the entire world -- was affected by the pandemic in so many ways. Due to the unprecedented nature of the disease, it was difficult to know what path to take as the virus progressed. There was a great deal of misinformation from the Trump administration, some of it outright false and misleading, that complicated an already challenging situation that changed almost daily. If they had handled the issue forthrightly, it could have been dealt with more effectively, and many lives would have been saved, as well as some graduations and proms. As the pandemic progressed, it was found that large, indoor, crowded events were a breeding ground for covid infections. Therefore, such events were rightly curtailed. While the attendees at proms and graduations may have been relatively low risk, many of their family members were not. Cancelling these events is a small price to pay for keeping your grandparents, and maybe yourself, alive. Unfair? Perhaps. But, as John F Kennedy famously said, "Life isn't fair."

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