In The Mail

Monday, March 23, 2020
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Not the time for demonizing


In this time of uncertainty when society as we know it is unraveling, we are seeing peoples’ fears run amok. This was evidenced by Greg Brainerd’s recent letter to the editor, within which he told us of folks discarding latex gloves in supermarket parking lots. He then concluded that Californians must be responsible for this action. 

Let me ask Mr. Brainerd a question: Did you see someone with California plates (and maybe a tan) perform this action? Was there yacht rock playing on the stereo of the car as the gloves came off and landed on the pavement? Were the people that did this also hugging a tree? Or where they - insert your stereotype of Californians here?

Regardless of the answer to these questions, I encourage Mr. Brainerd to not only pause and reflect on his beliefs, but to reflect on his choice to express them publicly during a time when our countrymen are suffering great losses in livelihoods and loved ones. 

I am not finding fault with his outrage over people discarding plastic gloves in the supermarket parking lot — those actions are deplorable and unacceptable — and yes, not logical. What I am denouncing is the voicing of blame, demonizing and devaluing of a whole group of people who happen to be our fellow Americans. Now is not the time.

Deborah Monaghan



Country has failed first responders and health care workers


I am a nurse. I am a member of an army being sent to war without a single weapon. Instead of having PPE (personal protective equipment), we are changing all the rules so that we don’t “need” PPE that actually works. 

I’ve worked in health care since before we knew what PPE was, when the only people using gowns, masks and gloves worked in the OR. I was lucky; I survived all those exposures to HIV, hepatitis, herpes, TB, MRSA, etc. during my child-bearing years. Now I’m supposed to open myself up to not only COVID-19 but all that other stuff that still exists so we can “save PPE” for when we “really” need it. 

The whole point of decades of teaching, research and practice is that we can never know “when we really need it.” Suddenly, now, we are supposed to assume everyone is negative until proven positive, after decades, up until this week, of assuming people are positive until proven negative. Our country has failed all first responders and health care workers in this country. And we will pay with our lives. 

Ruth Grindinger

Paradise Valley


Measure of a leader is how they manage a crisis


Where are we now? On Jan. 16, 2020, President Trump’s impeachment trial began. Our nation was transfixed, watching the proceedings by the hour, distracted. On Jan. 20, 2020, the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Washington state. On Jan. 31, 2020, Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar declared a public health emergency. On Feb. 12, 2020 the CDC warned of COVID-19 spread. Through February and March, the president downplayed the significance of this disease to the American people. At one point, he stated the economy will only be moderately affected, nothing to worry about. Recommendations for testing for this new organism were limited to those returning from foreign travel. Travel from China to the U.S. was restricted. In 2018 the office headed by Beth Cameron, director for Global Health and Biodefense in the White House Security Council, was dissolved, leaving the country less prepared for pandemics. When questioned about this on March 17, 2020, President Trump responded, “I’m a business person. I don’t like having thousands of people around when you don’t need them.” Thus began the descent into chaos.

Had we had the right people in the right positions of U.S. agencies, forward-thinking staff would have had a plan in place, providing adequate stocks of test kits, and personal protective equipment for health care workers. By restricting testing only to those who had foreign travel, more infections occurred. Inadequate monitoring took place, meaning people were walking around, unknowingly, as carriers. We now know people have become infected without foreign travel. People were denied tests because they could not demonstrate exposure. Had we tested more people early on, more people could have been quarantined, treated, and not infected others. Testing allows health care workers to triage patients and materiel at hospitals, and informs health agencies the extent of the emergent conditions.

FEMA Administrator Peter Gaynor stated on CNN Sunday morning that the states should continue shopping for needed medical supplies, putting states into a competitive position. He further stated the Defense Production Act has not required manufacturers to switch their product line from their usual to protective health and treatment products. At this time, available supplies from U.S. stocks are being shipped to the “hotbeds” of infection. When COVID-19 begins showing up in Park County, where do you think those supplies will be?

The reason for self isolation? Not enough tests. Not enough tests, more sick people. Hence, self-isolation. If too many people get sick with COVID-19, hospitals will be overwhelmed and not able to care for all. Do you want a nurse to care for you when he is wearing a gown and gloves worn while treating an earlier patient? Can a doctor or nurse wear the same mask or respirator all day or re-use it the next day? 

This remains about leadership. Leadership means planning. Planning means protection for citizens.

Leadership does not mean denial and made-up stories from the president about the seriousness of a pandemic, medicines to treat it, and quantities of supplies being shipped to health care workers. A measure of a leader is how they manage a crisis. What do you think?

Jerry Ladewig

Paradise Valley


Do not underestimate the coronavirus


I am a lawyer who lives in Cardano al Campo, a small town in Lombardy, Italy. I write to your newspaper, as I also work with an online newspaper (Malpensa24) and I deal with the 2020 American elections. Last August I was lucky enough to visit your city of Livingston, and I must admit that I have in my heart a wonderful memory.

Today I saw your article on the city of Bergamo. I can testify that the situation here is very dramatic. Ministerial decrees follow each other every day. I as a lawyer can no longer work, the courts are closed, and a few days ago there were riots in prisons. The Sunday liturgy has not been celebrated for many weeks, and now our cemeteries are also closed. We cannot leave the territorial borders of our countries. We are totally closed in our homes. It is difficult to do any type of activity, even just shopping for food — you have to plan and prepare with masks, glasses and gloves.

Please do not underestimate this coronavirus. Here are 11,000 inhabitants who have seen over 100 dead.

I wanted to send my testimony.

Giacomo Iametti

Cardano al Campo, Lombardy, Italy