To The Editor:

I write in response to Frank Souders' essay in your Wednesday, December 23, 2020 issue entitled "The Great COVID-19 Deception." Frank is a fine fellow who deserves our respect and gratitude for all the good things he has done in his career as a medical technician and nurse. Further, I appreciate that Frank used some real-world facts to support his arguments. In his essay Frank asked me to put on my thinking cap. I did, and I still disagree with him. His conclusions do not follow from his evidence.

Frank suggests that COVID-19 is not a true pandemic and therefore it is not as important as, say, the 1918 flu epidemic, which killed 40-50 million people. Quite true. But Frank himself wrote that 250,000 people have died from the COVID-19 virus, according to the CDC. Actually, the correct number as of 2:25 p.m. on December 29, 2020, is 334,029 deaths, and counting. About 3,000 people died in the 911 attacks in New York City and Washington. At the time we thought that was pretty significant. So we have over one hundred 911's just this year from the virus. And counting. Perhaps we should gloss over all these deaths because many or most of them were senior citizens. Take it from this old guy: all lives really do matter. Whether you call it a pandemic or an epidemic or a walk in the park, this COVID-19 experience has been a public health catastrophe.

Frank suggests that mask-wearing and social distancing are useless and so we can safely disregard those public health recommendations. With all respect, Frank is looking at the problem from the wrong end. He is looking at what we breathe in when the important thing is what we breathe out. We should wear masks for exactly the same reason that your mother told you to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze. Remember that common colds are also caused by (much less deadly) virus infections. When you cover your nose and mouth, you block the cloud of aerosols that Frank wrote about. When the fellow next to you coughs, sneezes, shouts, sings or even talks, he is blowing a cloud of saliva and snot at you. Better he should cover up. Frank is quire correct that the mask does not do a perfect job. That of course is why we social distance. That is why the Governor of the State of Ohio recommends avoiding large gatherings of people. We know from our common sense and from the experience of many other countries that covering up and social distancing prevents transmission of virus to an appreciable extent. Granted it is not perfect, but it helps a lot

I would not attempt to respond to Frank except that this issue is important. We in Jackson County have been state leaders in COVID-19 infection rates. We can do better. Your neighbor’s life may depend upon it.

Sincerely,

William C. Martin

(Editor's Note: It is the policy of The Telegram to accept and publish Letters to the Editor and Opinion / Editorial pieces if they are timely and space allows. The views expressed in those submissions do not necessarily reflect the views of The Telegram staff and should be viewed as being only the opinion of the writer.)