Letters to the Editor 2019

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To the Editor: 

The first thing to remember is that Covid kills. I know it may be popular in some circles to say, “Well, they had X disease already, but all of a sudden Covid…” and say that’s not Covid’s fault, and this is a lie. If someone has a co-morbidity already, but is actually living with and managing it, and it’s not killing them, and then they get Covid and die, then Covid killed them, not the co-morbidity.  

For example, if someone has cholesterol plaques in their veins that are being well-managed by a statin or some other treatment, and the person dies of pneumonia caused by Covid, what killed them? Covid. But it’s for these people who have an increased risk of infection and death that we’re wearing masks and taking a vaccine that not only was approved for emergency use but now, at least for Pfizer, has full FDA approval. There’s no excuse not to take it.  

It’s also vitally important to remember how viral infections, like Covid, survive, thrive, and change, and how the vaccines work.  

First, the vaccine does not stop the virus from entering your body. The likely fact is that while you may be vaccinated and wear a mask, you can still be infected with Covid, but never know it.  

This is because a virus uses what’s called a “spike protein” in order to poke into a living cell and enter it. It “spikes” itself inside the cell wall, like a lawn dart. Then it drops its payload inside the cell. If it can’t do that en masse, it can’t make you sick, and that’s what the vaccines have been designed to do: To stop the spike protein from entering the cell.  

Inside the cell is also where a virus grows, duplicates, and mutates, changing its DNA as it works to defeat the means we create to stop it. But if the virus can’t spike a cell to get inside, it can’t mutate, and that makes everyone safer.  

This is also why it’s important to wear a mask even if you’re vaccinated. As explained, the vaccines stop the virus from entering your cells, not your body. You can be vaccinated, completely unaffected, and still have the virus in your system. You can still give it to others – and they can give it to you – and then it continues to mutate until we get to a point where no vaccine and no treatment will stop it – and then it’s “Planet of the Apes.” 

The potential for a runaway virus mutation to kill every person on the planet may seem like science fiction, but science fact tells us it’s actually a possibility, however slim, unless we take it seriously while we can.  

So, when you hear someone on an entertainment station tell you, “If the vaccine worked, you wouldn’t have to wear a mask,” they’re lying to you (and chances are they’ve already been vaccinated themselves).  

This isn’t political. It’s a health crisis that doesn’t have to be a crisis if we all pull together.  

Do your part: Mask up, get vaccinated, and stay healthy. We'll all live longer. 

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