Letters to the Editor 2019

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To the Editor:                                           

COVID-19 presents a dilemma for political leaders because infections are closely correlated with population density (numbers of people per unit area). The question is how to balance economics with health.

If governors close businesses, then deaths decline, but so do jobs and incomes. If businesses remain open, then employment and incomes remain steady, but deaths increase.

As infections continue, many marginal businesses will never recover and their jobs will be lost forever.

Additionally, lost incomes mean lost state, county, and municipal tax revenues, which are essential to keep emergency medical technician personnel and buy personal protective equipment for hospitals dealing with COVID-19 patients.

Most state governors closed all businesses, schools, colleges, organizations, and social gatherings when it became apparent, in March, that the pandemic was accelerating and that those areas with dense population were most affected (a few states with low population densities remained open). Nursing and daycare homes for the elderly were the hardest hit institutions.

Beginning in April, public dissatisfaction with home confinement caused many citizens to demonstrate and pressure elected officials, especially governors, to open up businesses and other social and religious organizations and gatherings. Consequently, in May, politicians responded by gradually opening up businesses, organizations, and social gatherings.

Americans, along with citizens around the world, are presently subjected to a new, unique, and highly contagious disease for which there is no present vaccine cure. Current treatments include intubations and an assortment of ad-hoc treatments for those hospitalized.

Public testing, masking, tracking, and social distancing are recommended for those not currently affected. People who test positive are asked to isolate themselves for about two weeks to prevent infecting others.