Letters to the Editor: Jan 21, 2021

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Stop misquoting Constitution

Dear Editor:
To the American public, please stop misquoting the U.S. Constitution! The Second Amendment reads: “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” It does not say you have the right to riot, loot and vandalize public and private property. The same with the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peacefully to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It does not say you have the right to incite violence and encourage a violent mob to loot and vandalize public and private property. Nor does it say you can threaten the lives of people who are trying to do their sworn duty and protect the United States and its citizens.

If you choose to riot, vandalize, loot and otherwise use violence, do not claim to do it under the guise of defending or protecting the Constitution.

M.E. Jordan

Thanks for help during fire

Dear Editor:
Donnee and I would like to send out a huge thank you to the Meeker Volunteer Fire Department, Kate Proctor, Jim Amick, and Ryan Vroman for all their efforts and quick thinking during our garage fire on Friday. Their thoughtful and selfless acts contained a bad situation that could have become much worse. Once again, I am reminded of how lucky we are to have such considerate neighbors and a community that takes care of each other.

Willy and Donnee Theos

Response to PMC

Dear Editor:
Your readers, if they are interested, are witnessing an exchange similar to those found in the Correspondence section of the journal Nature and other scientific publications. A research group publishes their findings. Even after rigorous review by expert peers prior to publication, other scientists may question the study’s methods and conclusions. Those challenges appear in the Correspondence. If you, dear reader, have the patience, here’s a continuing Correspondence tour of COVID-19 research data.

To their credit, Dr. Justin Grant and the PMC Providers corrected some of the inaccuracies published in their column of Dec. 31, 2020. But what’s still missing is a response to my main point. Their Dec. 31 report seriously under-represented the overall average national IFR’s (infection fatality rates). For example, Dr. Grant et al claimed that the IFR for the United States is 0.17. That is one-quarter of O’Driscoll’s reported median IFR for the U.S. (O’Driscoll et al, 2020) and is based on the invalid assumption that O’Driscoll’s IFR’s should be reduced by another factor of ten to reflect uncertainty in infection rates. O’Driscoll et al base their infection rates on large scale random surveys of seropositivity (O’Driscoll, 2020). Those data don’t warrant the further guess-timations indulged by Dr. Grant (O’Driscoll, 2020, and personal communication with the corresponding authors).

I repeat my concern that Dr. Grant and his colleagues are discounting the considerable scientific understanding of the novel coronavirus. While it is true that we don’t yet know everything about SARS-CoV-2 and the immune system response to it, we do know very well that masks, distancing, handwashing, testing and tracing, and other public health precautions limit the spread and that those measures, if uniformly applied, can stop the pandemic. Witness, for example, the success of those control measures in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan and elsewhere, in contrast to the disaster here.

Vaccines will go a long way further to speed the return to a more normal economy. The two vaccines currently in distribution are remarkably safe and effective. Monitoring of the first 1.8 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine in the U.S. last month recorded about two adverse reactions per thousand vaccinations, including a total 21 cases of anaphylaxis, all of which were reversed with epinephrine (MMWR, 2021; AAFP, 2021). (Adverse reactions include everything from discomfort at the injection site to systemic reactions like fever and flu-like symptoms to life-threatening conditions like anaphylaxis. See also the vaccine trial data for the Moderna vaccine (CDC 2020).) Compare those adverse reaction data to the six deaths in the general population that would be expected from COVID per 1,000 un-vaccinated individuals, or the 100 deaths per 1,000 that would be expected among the elderly, not to mention lingering, long-term health effects from COVID among its survivors.

Dr. Grant’s advice for a healthy lifestyle is spot on. In present circumstances I would also suggest the following. It is our health care providers’ responsibility to offer the best available advice to their individual patients. If a patient, for example, has a medical condition for which taking the COVID vaccine would be a risk, they should be so informed. Advising in a public forum, however, is a different matter. There it is a provider’s responsibility to present, accurately, the best available public health evidence and to advocate for well-established public health measures. In present circumstances those include masks, distancing, avoiding crowds, and, unless an individual has a medical contraindication, getting the covid vaccine.

Dr. Bob Dorsett

AAFP. January 8, 2021. Report Finds Low Adverse Event Rate From COVID-19 Vaccine.

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. January 6, 2021. Allergic Reactions Including Anaphylaxis After Receipt of the First Dose of Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine — United States, December 14–23, 2020. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/70/wr/mm7002e1.htm

CDC. December 20, 2020. Local Reactions, Systemic Reactions, Adverse Events, and Serious Adverse Events: Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine.

O’Driscoll, Megan et al. 2020. Age-specific mortality and immunity patterns of SARS-CoV-2. Nature: November 2, 2020. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-020-2918-0 and Simon Cauchemez and Henrik Salje, personal communications.

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