Pushed a button
Letter To the Editor
I must say I do thoroughly enjoy reading the TDB when I “inherit” the issues from Dad. The latest one contained a Letter to the Editor that once again pushed a button, so I apologize; here I go again.
Let me preface this by saying that in terms of politics, I guess you could say I’m purple. I agree with some of the policies of both major parties. I relocated here from a state that has an independent senator and that suited me just fine. But most of the politicians I have recently paid attention to, regardless of party affiliation, seem to be more interested in keeping their own seats rather than doing what is right.
Now I for one was quite pleased to read that our school board had come to its senses and instituted a mask mandate. From what I read, it sounds like the crowd outside the meeting had some very strong opinions on both sides and the letters in the most recent issue of the TDB bear that out.
One of them, from a Lee Emerson of Mill Spring, made some rather strong scientific claims while invoking the NIH. It was claimed that the NIH, and I quote “has said that masks are of negligible help, are harmful in many ways, and should NOT be put on children who are least affected by the virus.” Unfortunately, a citation was not provided for this rather amazing claim, and the assertion set off my “balderdash alarm”, if you get my drift. So, I decided to spend a few minutes (and literally, it only took a few minutes) of checking with the NIH to see what their opinion on the subject is.
Here’s a link to an article I found on the NIH website: https://covid19.nih.gov/news-and-stories/how-kids-can-go-back-to-school-safely dated August 23. I was surprised to learn that much of the research around Covid-19 and children at the NIH is being orchestrated by Kanecia Zimmerman, M.D., M.P.H., a pediatric intensive care doctor at Duke University. She runs the NIH program called the Pediatric Trials Network, which is a collection of 100 institutions researching Covid and kids. Here is a direct quote from the article: “The data supports that masking or vaccination are the most effective ways to prevent transmission,” Zimmerman said. “If you want to be safe and prevent transmission, the best thing is to have a masking mandate.” That sounds pretty clear to me.
Here’s the thing that I feel a lot of people don’t understand. The virus doesn’t care what your politics or your personal freedoms are. Its sole purpose is to latch on to a person’s cell, inject its genetic material and produce a bazillion babies. As we have seen, those babies kill people by the hundreds of thousands. Democrats. Republicans. Socialists. Communists. People who believe the conservative media as much as people who believe the liberal media. We as a nation have become distracted by something that has no relation to the pandemic at all. And meanwhile the virus is merrily making babies and killing people, so many times that it has evolved into something that is even more “catchy”. If we keep ignoring the science in favor of clueless ideological arguing, the virus could eventually evolve enough to make our current vaccines useless.
We have a lot of very smart scientists like Dr Zimmerman doing the hard work for us to figure this thing out. Imagine my surprise when one morning I saw a high school classmate from decades ago come on the national news as the lead scientist on the team that developed the Pfizer vaccine. So that’s what that skinny trumpet player has been up to all these years. It frustrates me when people ignore the lifesaving information these folks have worked so hard to produce, or even worse, quote “evidence” that they heard somewhere on the radio or the TV. I’m not assuming that’s what happened here; if Lee Emerson has a citation from the NIH to support the assertion made, then I’d be glad to read it. Good science is about analyzing opposing data to challenge the current hypothesis.
The bottom line that we have to realize is that the enemy can only be defeated by science. Unless we start paying more attention to the people who get paid to figure this out for us (and that sure as heck isn’t the politicians or the pundits), a lot more people are going to die. For me and mine, we’ll wear our masks, get our booster shots when they come out, and keep watching the science. We hope to see y’all when it’s all over. Thanks to the school board, we can expect to see more of those kids around for sure.