Masks in schools

Masks for schoolchildren

I read Jim Anderson’s letter regarding masks for schoolchildren with dismay, and some amusement, Unfortunately, his response is emblematic of the lack of critical thinking seen in many adults. You can not simultaneously claim that masks are worthless because they cannot filter the virus as it is too small, then claim that they cause “CO2 poisoning” (hmm, what’s bigger, a virus or a molecule of CO2?)

He cites a recent study by the University of Waterloo, but fails to acknowledge that one of the researchers, Dr. Serhiy Yarosevych, states “no question it is beneficial to wear any face covering, both for protection in close proximity and at a distance in a room.” The study does call for the use of better masks, i.e. N95, but I doubt that the most would wear them as they are uncomfortable.

It is essential in this time of misinformation to do your own research before falling for conspiracies and nonsense.

Things to consider include:

1) What is the source of the information? Is it a prospective, randomized trial from the Mayo Clinic, or two patients reported on by a politician?

2) Where did you get the information? Was it published in a peer-reviewed journal or on twitter?

3) Is the person reporting the information a recognized and respected expert in their field, or a “rebel”? I did google Dr. Lee Merritt, as Anderson suggested, and learned she is an orthopedic surgeon, who also offers laser tattoo removal. I did not see training in virology, immunology, infectious disease or public health.

Our school boards are doing their very best to maintain a safe, stable learning environment for our children. As adults, we owe it to them to be smart, critical thinkers. The health of our community, economy and future depend on it.

Laura Pomerenke, M.D.

Colorado Springs

Everyone can be a carrier

The article on the spread of COVID in schools and the cause was very confusing. Dr. Rachael Herlihy said it was coming from unvaccinated people, but I always thought disease transmission came from infected people.

Also, I have been reading about “breakthrough COVID” where people have been vaccinated and still contract COVID. Seems to me that the spread is coming from vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

In fact, the CDC just changed its definition of a vaccine. It was “to produce immunity to a specific disease, protecting the person from that disease.” The CDC new definition of a vaccine is to “stimulate the body’s immune response.”

Sounds to me like Dr. Herlihy was off-target on placing the blame on unvaccinated people. She should acknowledge that everyone who gets infected will become a carrier and spreader regardless of their status.

David Patterson

Colorado Springs

Questioning effectiveness of masks

Andrea Miller, in a recent guest opinion column, referred to “the abundance of scientific, fact-based evidence that proves that masking is very effective in curbing the spread of COVID.” While it’s understandable that people want to believe in something that will protect them, neither the science nor the data provide evidence of this — statements from politicians and bureaucrats notwithstanding.

Covidchartsquiz.com has charts comparing masked and maskless states’ COVID death rates. Alabama instituted a statewide mask mandate in July 2020; neighboring states Florida and Georgia never had mask mandates. A chart of COVID deaths for the three states shows essentially no difference. Idaho never had a statewide mask mandate, neighboring Montana did. Their charts also show little difference, although Montana’s peak rate was higher than maskless Idaho’s. Internationally, the charts for seven European countries show huge spikes in COVID deaths within a few months of implementing mask usage — and higher rates than Sweden, with no mask mandates. Meanwhile, a study from Canada’s University of Waterloo found that common non-N95 masks filter about 10% of exhaled droplets, while even modest improvements in ventilation were significantly more effective than such masks. This makes sense when you realize that the smaller droplets — which are the ones that linger in the air for hours — are a fraction of the size of the pores in a common cloth mask.

There are many more studies and data than are listed here, of course, but to summarize: the physical properties of common cloth masks preclude significant effectiveness in preventing the spread of exhaled droplets, and this is confirmed by the incidence of COVID deaths in masked vs. unmasked regions (i.e., little to no significant differences.)

Robert Herzfeld

Colorado Springs

Shifting housing to public control

A network of advocacy groups pushes socialized housing. Some would prohibit single-family zoning. We hear of a “Green New Deal for Housing.”

As residents balk, crime-prone apartments named ‘The Ridge’ are built in southwest Colorado Springs, and 251 apartment units are planned for the northwest side. President Joe Biden aims to boost home affordability, and the White House outlines plans to build or restore 2 million-plus homes (The Gazette, Sept 2).

We have seen this in East Berlin, Brasilia, Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, and other places and now it is here. Federal, state and local governments enact a response to alleviate our housing pressures and today leverage COVID-19 to permanently expand it.

The goal will shift segments of our housing sector from private to public control. National homes guarantee is sought by activists and left-wing 501©4 nonprofits. People’s Action, will guarantee “safe, accessible, sustainable, and affordable homes” to everyone — at taxpayer expense. Another coalition, the Housing Justice National Platform for a Homes Guarantee, has similar goals.

Thirteen years ago, in 2008, there was a financial crisis brought on this country by mortgage-finance giants who became cozy with Fannie, Freddie, HUD, FHA, Congress and big players on Wall Street and ignored the warning signs of big housing.

The real villain is over-reaching government.

This movement is hostile to the very idea of real property, free market capitalism, and principles in the Declaration of Independence. It uses taxation schemes to incentivize developers to build rental properties rather than owner-occupied housing.

Janice Taylor

Colorado Springs

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