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Forum, June 30: NH is failing to make contact tracing a priority

Published: 6/29/2020 10:00:15 PM
Modified: 6/29/2020 10:00:10 PM
NH is failing to make contact tracing a priority

Epidemiologists generally agree that effective contact tracing and quarantining of exposed individuals are the best techniques, short of a complete lockdown, to limit the spread of COVID-19. They’ve proven effective in South Korea and other Asian nations. They are especially important as states relax shutdown rules and let businesses reopen and people mingle.

Yet, according to a survey by National Public Radio, New Hampshire has failed to staff up on tracers to meet the estimated need. NPR said the state’s need was estimated at 192 contact tracers, but the state reported only 125 staffers available for this all-important work.

To be sure, New Hampshire has plenty of company in the doghouse. Only eight states have enough tracers to meet estimated need, according to NPR, plus six more counting reserves they have dedicated to the purpose. In New England, Maine appears the least prepared, with only 40 staffers, more than 100 shy of its estimated need.

There is good news from the survey, too.

Neighboring Vermont has three more staffers committed to contact tracing than the 50 it is estimated to need. (Vermont’s rural population, shutdown rules and low case numbers limit its need.) Massachusetts has almost double its needed total, and New York state has assigned about triple its estimated need; an army of more than 10,000, including reserves.

ROB TAYLOR

Hanover

We fooled the Nazis. Are we now being fooled?

A story by The Associated Press tells of the Iranians building a mock-up of a U.S. Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, with ersatz airplanes on its deck, just off its southern coast (“Iran builds fake US aircraft carrier to attack,” June 10).

The article says it is a “fake” ship, but not what it is made of. Possibly used cargo containers and oil drums. The purpose seems to be for use in live-fire drills.

In World War II, the British and Americans created a “Ghost Army” with real-looking tanks, planes, fake soldiers, and other equipment and buildings — some inflatable and easily moved about, and some of rubber and other light materials. This staging also included recordings broadcast to Nazi headquarters of supply, troop and ship movements and invasion training sessions. The Germans were entirely fooled.

Before D-Day, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s office got rumors out that Gen. George Patton would be leading the invasion. Since Patton had been very successful in North Africa, this made the Germans sit up and pay attention.

The shortest route across the English Channel to the French coast was from southeastern England to Calais. Thus, to the technical and practical German army’s strategic staff, this was a logical route to launch the invasion of Europe, although other routes and landing sites, including Normandy, were considered. The artistic and theatrical deceptions of the “Ghost Army” kept the Germans guessing and probably saved the real D-Day invasion troops from being annihilated and the Germans winning the war.

Fast forward to today and in the U.S., a fake “president” is actually making crucial economic, military, civic and legal decisions. The men and women who planned, built and acted in the “Ghost Army” were top-of-the-line professionals. But we have a third-rate reality TV show actor with no government experience, training or education, with a huge chip on his shoulder, who is the commander in chief of the entire U.S. military, with all its armaments and nuclear bombs at his fingertips.

I have seen what nuclear bombs can do to people in the Marshall Islands. Vote for a livable environment and our survival on Nov. 3.

DICK HOLBROOK

Hanover




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