Letters to the editor, Oct. 24, 2020
Ineffectiveness of Masks in the Community, Redux
In response to the thoughtful note from Dr. Donald Teets I offer the following.
The use of masks to prevent respiratory viral infection is not a virological question, i.e., it’s a mechanical question: Do masks prevent the passage of respiratory aerosol droplets to the wearer? The principal means of transmission for respiratory viral infection is via respiratory aerosol droplets. Therefore, the ability of a mask to prevent infection with one virus is a very good marker for any other virus. A study of face masks for prevention of respiratory viral infection does not need to be virus specific; although, it would be the frosting on the pig.
In terms of mask effectiveness, community settings were the best studied setting in the review. 14 randomized, controlled studies and 3 observational studies were reviewed. None of the studies reviewed suggested that masks are effective in community settings for prevention of respiratory viral infection.
For both writers on the 21st of October, the principal thrust of my note was to argue that public policy that may abridge individual choice should ideally be based on good data to justify further reducing individual choice in our highly regulated society.
Rodney Michael, M.D., Rapid City
Why we wear masks
We wear masks out of respect for you. Research of top scientific institutions has shown that the coronavirus can spread through droplets and particles released into the air by speaking, singing, coughing or sneezing. 20% of COVID positive individuals are asymptomatic, unknowingly shedding viruses into the air. Other COVID positive individuals shed viruses 2-3 days prior to the onset of their symptoms. Wearing masks holds most of those viruses in our mask rather than transmitting them into the air. It is not 100% but most certainly will assist in the prevention of 100,000 deaths in the US in the next few months. A mandate is not necessary for us, as we respect you enough to wear a mask.
Judy & Robert G. Allen, M.D.
The CDC is clear
In response to the letter entitled "Ineffectiveness of Masks in the Community," I would like to comment. The Center for Disease Control has highly recommended the correct wearing of face masks. I'm sure they are very well aware of the Annals of Internal Medicine's review of world literature published on October 6th that was referred to. The CDC is comprised of numerous researchers, scientists, and physicians who are doing their darndest to steer our country in the right direction to turn this pandemic around. The current administration has done its best to shed doubt on this trusted organization. How disheartening that must be, but they never stop trying to help the country anyway. What great sacrifice is it, even if you doubt the efficacy of masks, to err in the way of caution in the hope that you are helping to slow the spread? We each have to do what we can. The wearing of masks and social distancing allow us to "move on" more safely. Also, the amount of people who die from the flu in a whole year has been on average about one-sixth of those who've died from Covid-19 in seven months.
Sandra Schnieder-Troy, Rapid City
Hope you're happy
These words were spoken by President Truman at his second inauguration in January of 1949.
Communism is based on the belief that man is so weak and inadequate that he is unable to govern himself, and therefore requires the rule of strong masters.
Democracy is based on the conviction that man has the moral and intellectual capacity, as well as the inalienable right, to govern himself and reason and fairness.
Communism subjects the individual to arrest without lawful cause, punishment without trial, and forced labor as the chattel of the state. It decrees what information he shall receive, what art he shall product, what leaders he shall follow, and what thoughts he shall think.
Democracy maintains that government is established for the benefit of the individual, and is charged with the responsibility of protecting the rights of the individual and his freedom in the exercise of those abilities.
The Democratic party is dead and has been taken over by left wing extremist. Hope you're happy with your party!
Jeffrey Johnson, Rapid City
Not enough for Noem?
"Noem headlines campaign events in NH" (Oct 16) On the same day our state Department of Health reported a record 797 new Covid cases and 13 more deaths, Governor Noem was campaigning for Donald Trump in New Hampshire amid speculation she will run for president in 2024.
Does anyone else feel like your prom date left you at the dance for a better option? The better option in this case being Corey Lewandowsky and a higher ambition. Neither scenario is a federal offense, but both speak to questionable judgment and bad timing. At best.
The second half of the article lists the Governor's four newest hires. South Dakota's new agriculture adviser, federal liaison, and adviser to the governor all hail from DC. Her new general counsel is a high-profile attorney and media favorite from Florida. While Noem has long touted her confidence in the citizens of South Dakota, it appears that confidence fades when it comes to handling the affairs of our own state. Or her potential Presidential campaign.
Our governor has again overlooked experienced South Dakotans This time in the interest of promoting her national agenda. Four outsider politicos, four sizeable state salaries. A priority check is in order.
Maureen Zimney, Rapid City
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