LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Use science, not hunches and desired beliefs
There have been a number of interesting letters to the Pioneer this month. Not surprisingly, they relate to how our nation, state and communities have responded to the current COVID-19 crisis and challenges. Comparisons of mortality and death rates to other medical issues such as yearly influenza outbreaks, overdoses, motor vehicle accidents (MVA), cancer etc, have been quoted. Subtly, or not so subtly, comparative issues of finances and human life have also been raised.
I am not interested in debating these stats. I would like to highlight (which seems to have been missed) the risk to the people who are caring for the COVID-19 patients.
Medical personnel of all levels (housekeepers, aides, nurses, physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, ward clerks, lab and x-ray technicians, first responders, paramedics, police, firemen) are not at any significant risk from dying as they provide assistance and care each fall, winter and spring to influenza patients, to people who have overdosed, to MVA victims, to cancer patients. Most of these individuals who have spent many years and many dollars for education and training understand there are risks of their profession. What they did not agree to, and rightly so, was to be exposed to potentially deadly situations because some people think dollars are more important than human lives. There are vaccines for influenza; overdoses and cancer are not contagious; and anyone can die from an MVA, though not by merely working in a hospital or clinic. There is a difference, and not a small one, between those health challenges and COVID-19.
Not to mention that as healthcare professionals die from COVID-19 that they may have acquired from caring for infected patients, there will be fewer and fewer qualified and experienced individuals to care for us as this virus spreads through our world, country, state and all communities, urban and rural.
A similar risk situation applies to the individuals who work in our grocery stores and restaurants, allowing us to continue to enjoy meals and purchase necessary supplies.
We should be a team; we are not wimps. We should use the best knowledge-based science available to determine our actions and choices, not hunches and desired beliefs.