In the May 1, 2020, letter to the editor it was claimed that (1) the COVID-19 virus is no worse than the seasonal flu, and therefore, (2) the government’s response in locking down society is excessive, violating our civil liberties and, effectively, enslaving us.
I strongly disagree with this assessment and believe this virus poses a legitimate public health threat and should be handled accordingly.The claim that the COVID-19 virus is nothing more than the seasonal flu is not accurate. Wake up! The primary reason this is a bad comparison is that, even if the flu and COVID-19 have similar case fatality rates, morbidities, and transmissibility, the flu has a vaccine and COVID-19 does not.
Without a vaccine, the flu is extremely serious, and thus, so is COVID-19. However, COVID-19 has demonstrated that it is far more contagious than the flu, and thus can overwhelm our health care system if it is unchecked.
Worse yet, most people are asymptomatic carriers, unknowingly transmitting the virus to at risk individuals.
For example, as this virus is airborne, in a restaurant, one asymptomatic person can infect many people at her/his table, and other nearby tables, especially if the air conditioning is running.
Furthermore, this virus is devastating to at risk individuals. For example, in Massachusetts, in one long-term care home of 230 residents, 78 residents died, 82 other residents tested positive, and 81 workers tested positive.
As of May 4, 2020, in the United States 1,180,634 cases with 68,934 deaths have been reported.
In Pennsylvania, we have over 50,000 cases of COVID-19 with deaths thus far of 2,458. For these reasons, COVID-19 is a serious public health crisis.
As for the government’s response to this crisis, I believe that the measures taken to keep people socially distant were appropriate and effective. I do not believe these measures constitute “enslavement,” as previously argued.
We have simply been working to curb the virus. We have the right to travel but are asked to avoid nonessential travel right now.
We have been asked to stay home to protect ourselves and others.
However, I do agree it is time to start loosening the restrictions so that people can get back to work to pay rent, buy food and afford their medicine.
In fact, Pennsylvania is starting to reopen Friday, May 8, 2020.
However, we must do this safely by wearing masks and social distancing. These steps will save many lives and keep COVID-19 from spiking and overwhelming the health care system. Please everyone – take this virus seriously! It is just beginning to be understood.
Older folks and those with underlying conditions still need to stay home as much as possible. They are at the greatest risk!
When out, everyone needs to wear a mask and social distance.
By practicing these protocols, we not only protect ourselves, but our mothers, fathers, grandparents and friends. Encourage each other to wear a mask! Stay safe! Wash your hands, thank our health care workers, and pray for a better tomorrow.
Betsy Beacham Sceiford
North East resident