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America could have avoided pandemic woes

Community voices America could have avoided pandemic woes

During a vacation on his ranch in 2005, then-president George W. Bush read a book, written by John M. Barry, a new book about the 1918 flu pandemic and titled, “The Great Influenza.” From it, he learned that pandemics occur every 100 years or so. Telling the press, “If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare.” Bush and his administration immediately worked out a comprehensive pandemic preparation plan. When president Obama took office in 2008, he expanded the plan. Well, that very necessary and well-laid-out plan never came to fruition. It was shelved by - guess who - as soon as he got in. The words of president Bush’s top Homeland Security advisor Frances Townsend are worth noting, “Despite politics, despite changes, when crisis hits, you pull what you’ve got off the shelf and work from there.” (Matthew Mosk, ABC News, April 5, 2000) When the pandemic struck, not without warning, the Trump administration was totally unprepared. Trump brushed it off (now he and his believers say, “We got right on it”): “Be calm, it’ll go away,” “It’ll be gone by Easter,” “It’ll be gone by April,” “There will be 15 cases and then there will be zero.”

The doctors advised taking precautions: shelter at home, wear masks, practice social distancing, wash hands thoroughly, etc., and many careful, caring, and just plain scared people took their advice. The don’t have a clue weepers cried about masks denying them their freedom (seriously?), their right to make their own choices and, y’know, spread it around (they didn’t admit that last part, but that’s as it is), and defiantly went around bare-faced. Doctor Fauci tried to impress on us that the virus is highly contagious, but those who knew better, even though they hadn’t committed their lives to the study of diseases and didn’t have any answers of their own, ignored the doctors.

The coronavirus took over our lives and devastated our country, closing it down. Drastic steps had to be


taken, but some progress was made, and the country started to open. We thought we could resume some semblance of our lives. But when the freedom-and-choice criers had the freedom to make their own choices, they went wild, crowding into bars and pools and onto beaches and even into COVID-19 parties (who ever dreamed up something so imbecilic?), etc., etc., and the virus flourished and again ruled. No masks, no precautions, and, again, the awful numbers surged (Dr. Fauci’s “worst nightmare”), to the point where Dr. Birx came on TV to warn of impending disaster. He Who Knows All certainly more than the medical expert; just ask him, he will tell you, over and over, how smart he is, followed after and immediately informed us that “we” were doing “really, really well.” “We?” What’s he ever done but criticize and contradict the doctors and come up with proven ineffective and potentially dangerous suggestions like hydroxychloroquine and household disinfectant, He needs to, as the mayor of Seattle advised, go back into his bunker and make everyone safer. Or ponder this from the July 21 page of the Old Farmer’s Almanac Everyday Calendar (apt advice, all things considered): “He who knows nothing knows enough if he knows when to be silent.” People are dying, yes, he tells us, but the numbers are down (huh?) “It is as it is,” he says. Compassion is not in his psyche, but maybe all (self-proclaimed) “stable geniuses” are like that.

So here we go again, on the long and hard journey. Governor Evers has issued a mask mandate. Most states have them. He shouldn’t have had to do that, should he? And the police departments shouldn’t have had to make the difficult decision of whether or not to enforce the mandate, should they? After all, we are all conscientious and responsible and act like adults, don’t we? Masks are no big deal to wear. Just do it. We are sure that some are again crying about their freedom, but the freedom of all of us is at stake. We want to be free to resume our normal lives. And there are those like the author of a recent Vox Pop letter ridiculing those who wear masks. Do we really look like that actors in the doctor shows on TV? Like TV stars? Or better yet, doctors and nurses? Was it actually a compliment? Really? Wow! What a nice thing to say! Thank you, Mr. Borman! Actually, you can call us “The Grunge Brigade” if you like. We really don’t care, we’ll wear our masks. Masks save lives. But, Mr. Borman, don’t you think, considering that it’s been shown that masks save lives, the suggestion that the Preparation H logo might be used on a mask was not only rude but unconscionable? Nevertheless, if we care about everyone’s welfare, including yours, we must take this matter seriously and wear our masks!

One more thing, to set the record straight: Gov. Evers did not, as you stated in a previous letter, close Milwaukee polls on Election Day in April. Does it make sense to you that a Democratic governor would shut out all those Democratic voters in that city? The polls were closed because the mostly elderly folks who usually work at the polls didn’t want to be there during the pandemic, the same reason that the National Guard was called in to man the polls for the August 11 election.

Well, maybe we’ll eventually be okay if we do the right things. It will be a long haul. It’s a dilemma. How do we get this tragedy over with when people insist on spreading the virus around and prolonging it? Dr. Redfield said, several weeks ago, that if everyone wore a mask, the pandemic could be under control in six to eight weeks. The doctors tell us that most of the predicted deaths could be prevented by the wearing of that little “TV star” mask. We’ve talked to people who think that things will never be the same as they were before. We hope that’s wrong. We’ll keep on trying for better days. We can do that. Masks will help us.

— Evelyn and Marilyn Reimann, Medford.