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Friday’s Letters to the Editor

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Woefully unprepared

EDITOR: So, we are going to stop interacting with each other (shelter in place) to try to slow the spread of COVID-19. Well, I guess we’ve got to do something. But it’s possible that we have all been exposed to the virus already. We don’t have any idea if that’s true or not because only a tiny fraction of us has been tested. We need everyone tested now.

What the heck is the matter with this country? Can’t we do anything anymore?

When we finally get test kits and really know how many people have this thing, and are spreading it even though they may be asymptomatic, what then? Why isn’t the National Guard building tent triage-and-treatment centers in every town, equipped with the necessary tools and staffed with anyone in our armed services who can learn to do triage or install a ventilator?

Sadly, we can’t just ramp up test kit production, ventilator production or even tent construction. We don’t make that stuff anymore, so we don’t have anything to build on. And where are we going to get the leadership to get us through this?

JIM GILMORE

Sonoma

Don’t pick Harris

EDITOR: I read with some degree of shock and dismay that Sen. Kamala Harris may be considered for the vice presidential nomination. I cannot think of a less qualified person than the junior senator. During the campaign she displayed none of the qualities needed for national leadership. If Joe Biden thinks he will be a bridge for the next generation of Democrats, he should overlook Harris.

GARY SCIFORD

Santa Rosa

Dubious numbers

EDITOR: Symptoms would indicate that I have the coronavirus. I will never know because testing is in short supply, and I am not a priority. I won’t be counted.

I called the nurse hotline associated with my medical plan. After waiting on hold for half an hour and then answering a lengthy list of questions, I was told to stay home and contact my doctor if I have difficulty breathing. I don’t disagree with that response. They are overwhelmed.

The Press Democrat’s coverage has been outstanding, but I urge you to consider the official numbers on the outbreak to be worthless. Tuesday’s World Health Organization report showed 3,500 confirmed cases in the U.S. That gives no sense of the true scale of the outbreak. The small number of confirmed cases in Sonoma County is misleading. You could multiply official numbers by some fudge factor, but it would be pure speculation.

As I have been telling people about my situation, I have been surprised how many of them have said, me, too.

BRAD HEAVNER

Santa Rosa

Comic relief

EDITOR: Sometimes the difficulties of day-to-day life in our world are almost overwhelming. Of the small things that keep me sane, the cartoons in The Press Democrat are at the top of my day, every day. The smiles and laughs they give me are pure gold. So thank you all, you artists and soul-savers, you cartoonists. We need you.

Don’t ever stop.

MARY ZIE

Santa Rosa

Where’s the screening?

EDITOR: On Monday, I had a scheduled imaging test at a local hospital, so I confirmed it was still on. I was alarmed by several things. First, I was asked to sign in at two different locations using a pen that was attached to a clipboard or binder. I opted to use my own pen but shuddered to think how many hands had touched that paper before me.

Second, I was asked no screening questions to determine if I had any symptoms of anything. Not by admissions, not by the security guard protecting the entrance to the hospital hallways, nor by the department in which I had an appointment.

Third, visitors were being allowed into the hospital floors, including the ICU, without any screening questions.

The person conducting my test had returned from a vacation, and I asked if he was asked where he had traveled or if had symptoms before coming in to work. No.

I was dumbfounded. If we are to contain COVID-19, then these practices are questionable. It seemed as if it was business as usual inside the hospital, but outside life was almost at a standstill.

MARGARET YARAK

Sebastopol

Protecting ourselves

EDITOR: Basic life-saving information on the World Health Organization website spells out the two ways coronavirus enters our bodies. People seem to understand one way — by air. Social distancing can protect delicate lung tissue from contact with airborne virus. What about the second: by touch?

With so much emphasis on washing everything around us, some of us may have missed the point of all the sanitizing. “The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth … spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on … surfaces. ... Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these … surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.”

The virus doesn’t go through our outer skin. To infect us by touch, it needs to reach our few vulnerable spots: warm, wet tissue of the type lining the “holes” in our faces and any open wounds. The most likely carrier? Our hands; we touch these spots often, without noticing — possibly after we last washed.

We should concentrate on stopping our mindless, dangerous habits. We’ll often be caught without water or sanitizer, but if we understand what the virus needs to keep going, we can stop giving it a hand.

HELEN HUNTER

Santa Rosa

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