Letters to the editor March 16

March 16, 2020 8:00 PM

What scares me about the Covid-19 is not the actual virus. Most of us will recover the same as we would with a cold or flu, and certainly, we do not want to infect anyone who could die if infected with the virus.

I am fearful of how this mass hysteria will affect our humanity and compassion towards others. We already see people fighting over toilet paper for goodness sake. How about buy the damn toilet paper and share it with the person with whom you are fighting.

The lack of touch has me concerned. Contact is a basic need for humans. Not only are we asked to avoid handshakes and hugs (I am personally a big hugger), but we are asked to keep 3-6 feet from the person to whom we are communicating. Will practicing these impersonal behaviors have a long-term effect on how we interact with each other? Will we become a cold and distant society?

I will do my best to be aware of approaching people and restrain from giving a hug or a caress on the arm. Not because I am afraid of the virus but because I don’t want to be ostracized by society because giving someone a genuine hug is now considered being inhumane and reckless.

We are controlled by the fear that is currently instilled in us daily. Such a high level of conforming may be necessary for managing the spread of the virus, but it is unnatural. Once the virus becomes contained, how does society come back from fearing human touch? I am afraid of a cold and withdrawn community.

—Cassie Monaco, Whitefish

Yes, that is right. There are four steps to proper hand washing that will lead to dramatically reducing your chance of any infection.

Rinsing is the important first step. Don’t just sit around and worry. Do something to help yourself.

Four Steps of Hand washing:

1. First rinse your hands under running water, before using soap.

Rinsing and scrubbing with water takes off the surface layer of germs and allows soap to do a better job. Wring your hands while rinsing.

2. Using soap, scrub wet hands on all sides, top and bottom, between fingers, and fingernails. Scrub the tips of the fingers and thumbs on your palms. Fingertips are where you touch most things. Soap takes off another layer of germs.

3. Thoroughly rinse under running water, still rubbing your hands together. This second rinsing removes yet another layer of germs along with the soap.

4. Use clean towels or paper towels to dry your hands. The friction of drying with towels removes remaining germs, provided the towel is clean.

Doctors learn this technique in medical school so as not to pass germs to patients. It works for us and it will work for you. Empower yourself. Place your health protection in your own hands.

—Annie Bukacek, Kalispell

I am deeply disturbed by the politicization and junk science being spewed by politicians and scare-mongering experts evoking panic in the American populace over this Coronavirus pandemic.

Fact: As of March 13, there were 144,824 cases as reported by the Johns Hopkins online epidemiology report of Coronavirus in the WORLD as terrified people strip shelves of water and toilet paper (BTW, this virus is respiratory . . . it doesn’t cause diarrhea). Conservative and liberal media alike warn of ventilator and ICU bed shortages.

Some have likened it to the Spanish flu that infected 600 million people - one third of the 1.9 billion world population over a two-year period. If coronavirus had the same attack rate with a world population of 7.8 billion, we would need to see 2.6 billion cases, not 145,000.

Comparisons to Italy not having enough ventilators when their population in the hardest hit north is old and compact is not reasonable.

Ohio’s governor and public health officer stating that they are predicting 100,000 case in their state is absurd. Using South Korea data which is doing testing on demand, there have been 7,979 cases in a country with 51.23 million people with 66 deaths, a mortality of 0.08% - less than the 0.1% mortality from yearly influenza in the USA which kills 30,000 - 60,000 people a year.

And remember, the swine flu of 2009 infected around 57 million Americans and killed around 12,000 including 1,200 children (so far only 5,400 deaths worldwide with coronavirus).

While I agree with taking reasonable precautions with personal hygiene, avoiding crowds, self-quarantining, fast-tracking vaccines and treatments, having testing available to make appropriate decisions for care and perhaps restricting travel and large gatherings, I would urge calm rather than the hysteria coming out of Washington DC and the media.

—David Myerowitz, Columbia Falls