LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Stay-at-home measures do work if followed


The April 1 letter criticizing leadership for taking unprecedented measures to contain the COVID-19 pandemic has flawed analogies. During the Civil War there was at least some expectation that lives would be lost, even if it was vastly underestimated. These were armed soldiers. Additionally, with the state of medical treatment 160 years ago it was also pretty much a forgone conclusion that soldiers would not survive many injuries they would today. Until recently, people in this country didn’t face the possibility of dying just going about their daily lives. There’s a big difference from going off to war and becoming infected from something one did not choose.

Comparisons to celebrities and sports figures are without merit. Many have been able to get tested pre-emptively or showing only mild symptoms when others have died after being denied testing even though they were quite ill. Additionally, because of their money these people have access to the best health care available. They don’t have to deal with ending up in a hospital in New York City where medical professionals are overwhelmed and facing the prospect of no ventilators in a week or two.

I won’t bother to address the other comparisons mentioned in this letter. Some appear to be taken from social media platforms. The latest estimate is that even with the measures that are currently being taken, more than 100,000 people in the U.S. may still die. Certainly this could be lower, but it also could be higher. That statistic is based on modeling derived in part from numbers in China and other places that have experienced the pandemic longer than the U.S.

Our economy can eventually recover but we are part of a society where it’s not just cost-benefit but values. The stay-at-home measures do work if followed. Currently there are six cases in Beltrami County. Travel warnings were out before the second week of March as well as advice to social distance. By then there were plenty of examples internationally and in the U.S. of the consequences for not heeding them. The sooner people begin taking the governor’s directive seriously, the sooner we can get back to some semblance of normalcy.

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