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Forum, July 31: A sad lack of understanding about masks

Published: 7/30/2020 10:00:13 PM
Modified: 7/30/2020 10:00:12 PM
A sad lack of understanding about masks

How sad that Forum contributor Diana Watson reacted with “horror” to Vermont’s Gov. Phil Scott’s attempt to keep the novel coronavirus under control by mandating that folks wear masks to reduce the transmission of the virus by asymptomatic carriers (“Mask orders destroying our republic,” July 26).

The simple practices we can easily employ — wearing masks, washing hands, social distancing and staying home if any symptoms do occur — have been demonstrated to substantially reduce the spread of the virus worldwide. Witness the results in Canada, New Zealand, Germany, etc., and some states — Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island — and how fast the virus spreads again when containment measures are relaxed.

Perhaps there’s a lack of understanding that mask-wearing primarily protects people other than the wearer, and that wearing the mask is an expression of care for your associates and community by helping to reduce the virus transmission. Personal protection is better obtained by wearing an N95 respirator, which also provides the containment benefits that the mask provides. Both are now readily available.

The World Health Organization at first did not recommend general wearing of masks because the transmission of the virus by asymptomatic carriers, and by carriers who were not yet experiencing any symptoms, was initially unknown. Therefore, the WHO’s initial recommendation that masks were not required for asymptomatic folks seemed sound.

That the WHO changed its recommendation was no doubt a decision made under political pressure — from the scientists, physicians and health administrators around the world as we learned about asymptomatic carriers and more details on how the virus can spread. That decision was, however, based on science, not politics.

Is it “manipulation” and “fear-mongering” to urge and require such simple procedures to reduce the spread of a lethal virus? I suspect the mothers, fathers, spouses and friends of the more than 150,000 American fatalities would not agree.

I support Gov. Scott’s mask mandate and urge Gov. Chris Sununu to do the same for New Hampshire’s citizens.

GERALD COOPER

Springfield, N.H.

Not willing to gamble with anyone’s health

In response to Diana Watson’s letter about mask-wearing (“Mask orders destroying our republic,” July 26), I ask her to consider that the one important piece of evidence about wearing masks is that they work. Places that have mandated mask-wearing, or where the public has worn masks, have many fewer cases and deaths from the novel coronavirus. Those numbers are more important for the health of all of us than the objections of some.

We have no way to tell if we are healthy or if the coronavirus has already invaded our bodies except for a test, and that only tells us we are free of the virus at the time of the test.

I’m not willing to gamble with my health, or anyone else’s. I wear a mask.

BABETTE HANSEN

Lebanon

The problem isn’t the mask orders

Forum contributor Diana Watson writes that mask requirements are “destroying our republic” (July 26). Really? And here I thought it was our incompetent and power-hungry president who has shrugged off the deaths of more than 150,000 Americans due to the pandemic and is now using federal agents to provoke and attack Americans in our own country.

Hmmm ... how could I have been so wrong?

SHARI SACKS

Woodstock

NH should mandate masks in school

We strongly disagree with New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu’s decision not to require masks in schools. This will put our teachers, aides, bus drivers and others at risk, as well as children from homes with a compromised family member.

Yes, there will have to be exceptions for some special needs students, but that would be a very small percentage. The vast majority could wear masks and protect each other so that schools do not have to be closed again, or at least delay their closings.

Every day the children, especially elementary-age children, are physically in school is a plus for their education.

The governor should please reconsider mandating the wearing of masks in schools. The consistent wearing of masks, especially indoors, is one of the best and easiest ways to control the spread of this deadly virus.

People who object do not have to send their child to school, just as people with a compromised child will probably opt for Zoom. That is their choice.

But without masks, we do not believe that schools will be able to remain open. Given the differences in the state, maybe exceptions can be made for certain counties, but most of all this is the time to protect the general population, even at the inconvenience of some.

If you agree, please email the governor at governorsununu@nh.gov.

DEBORAH and PETER RUCCI

New London

Beatriz Pastor has the experience, commitment

I was reminded recently that voting in the Democratic primary will start very soon, as many of us exercise our right to vote by absentee ballot. The primary for New Hampshire Senate District 5 is of particular interest to me, in part because I was privileged to serve in that seat, but also because the holder of that Senate seat has always played a critical role in the deliberations of the Democratic caucus.

Through the last two decades, our state Senate candidate in District 5 has been an experienced legislator with acknowledged leadership among state and local Democratic circles.

Cliff Below was widely regarded as the leader in the state on energy issues. He was admired in the House, and he carried his reputation with him into the Senate. Matt Houde did the same, matching a terrific career in the House with an equally superb job in the Senate. And David Pierce did as well, and most recently Sen. Martha Hennessey.

I speak about this because my candidate in this year’s primary, former Rep. Beatriz Pastor, has accumulated experience in her six years in the House that will be critical to her success in the Senate. She will be ready from the start to work with House colleagues from the entire district on issues of local concern, and her excellent reputation within the Democratic Party will be a real plus. She has three terms spent in the House as a leading member on the Science, Technology and Energy Committee. That means in the Senate, Pastor will be our advocate on issues concerning broadband, communications and the internet — in short, our economy.

So I am pleased to endorse former Rep. Beatriz Pastor as the Democratic candidate from Senate District 5. Her service in the House, and her lifelong commitment as a Democrat, make her my candidate of choice.

PETER HOE BURLING

Cornish

Sue Prentiss is uniquely suited to serve NH

Voters in New Hampshire Senate District 5 are fortunate to have Sue Prentiss as a candidate to represent them in Concord. Her experience, skills and intelligence make her uniquely suited to serve as our state senator.

Two of her many strengths have particular value as the state, its towns and cities, and its citizens face the challenges posed by the pandemic. The first is her career in public safety, public health and crisis management. The second is her substantial experience as a public servant at the municipal level.

Prentiss has extensive training and long service in Emergency Medical Services, both as a paramedic and as a policymaker with a broad range of EMS-related organizations. Her involvement includes national efforts, such as serving as executive director of the American Trauma Society and her work on developing the nation’s first Compact for EMT and Paramedic Personnel Licensure.

At the local level, she has served as project director for the federally funded rural health outreach initiative at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and was the state’s trauma system coordinator and its first female chief of emergency medical services. As the pandemic unfolds and the state is faced with one public health challenge after another, Prentiss will bring an unusually informed and thoughtful point of view to addressing these issues. More detail can be found at prentissfornhsenate.com.

Prentiss is in her sixth term on the Lebanon City Council, during which time she served as mayor for four years. She joined fellow councilors in adopting the goals of the Paris Climate Accord, in addressing issues of inclusiveness in the city, and in stimulating its economic and cultural revitalization. She continues to work on regional transportation systems.

Her familiarity with the needs of our towns and cities, and with the ways in which the state interacts with local governments, especially with respect to funding, will prove invaluable.

We hope you will join us in supporting an outstanding candidate, Sue Prentiss, both in the Democratic primary on Sept. 8 and in the general election on Nov. 3.

LORRAINE and LARRY KELLY

West Lebanon

Beatriz Pastor best choice for Senate

Beatriz Pastor will be a fantastic legislator representing New Hampshire Senate District 5. She served with me in the New Hampshire House for three terms, where she was a valued Democratic member of the Science, Technology and Energy Committee.

Serving first in the House of Representatives is one of the core criteria I have for our next state senator. Our last four senators have first served with honor in the House. Knowing Concord’s legislative process will give Pastor a huge head start in filing and shepherding the legislation we’ll need so badly in the years to come.

While at our last House session at UNH’s Whittemore Center Arena a few weeks ago, numerous members came up to me thrilled that Pastor is running. She’s widely respected for her personal skills and her deep knowledge of the issues.

Please join me in supporting Beatriz Pastor in the Sept. 8. Democratic primary.

SHARON NORDGREN

Hanover

Seeing effects as causes and causes as effects

After reading the Washington Post story “Spike in crime follows rise in gun-buying” (July 16) three times, I was still unable to find any supporting evidence for its assertion that the current increase in violence is due to an increase in gun purchases, other than the claims of several anti-gun organizations to have conducted their usual highly objective and scientifically rigorous studies, and the old post hoc, ergo propter hoc, or “after this, therefore because of this” argument, which is a classic violation of the principles of logic and yet a mainstay of leftist politics and shoddy journalism.

The prospect of violence has driven the development and acquisition of weapons ever since the first hominid palmed a rock, but a defining characteristic of those on the left is a predisposition to see effects as causes and causes as effects, which explains why they’re so often not merely at odds with reality but diametrically opposed to it.

ANTHONY STIMSON

Lebanon




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