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Authors generally attach their names to their publications. A series of Guest Columns in your newspaper related to COVID-19 carries the byline “Pioneers Medical Center Providers.”
Who is writing these articles? And what is their purpose? The articles say that we should not trust the experts. Is that really the intent of Pioneers Medical Center? Don’t trust the advice of medical experts?
The PMC author’s Dec. 31 article, titled “Evidence-based discussions need to occur,” takes us through a series of calculations for the infection fatality rate (IFR) associated with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. The author bases his/her analysis on a study (O’Driscoll, 2020) that accounts for uncertainties in the prevalence data (seropositivity rates). But the author lops off another 75% from the published IFR, without justification. The uncertainty in IFR is already accounted for in the O’Driscoll methodology (never mind that the author’s age-related mortality figures don’t match the data published in O’Driscoll, anyway). That said, peer-reviewed research does show that individual risk for death from coronavirus in younger age groups is very low. Yes, that is reassuring for otherwise healthy young individuals. And while it is certainly true, as the author says, that a healthy diet and exercise go a long way toward reducing individual risk for coronavirus, those measures will not end this pandemic.
As of Jan. 2 COVID-19 has caused over 1.83 million documented deaths worldwide, more than 348,000 deaths in the U.S., and affects all age groups. And we’re not anywhere near the end. Compare that to seasonal influenza, which kills on the order 40,000 each year in this country. By the author’s own figures, without improved compliance with public health recommendations we’re on track for one to two million covid-related deaths in the over-65 age group in the U.S. alone.
It has been well established that public health precautions including masks, distancing, avoiding indoor group gatherings, and frequent handwashing prevent viral transmission and prevent deaths (CDC, 2020). We are fortunate to have skilled and dedicated medical experts at Pioneers Medical Center taking care of our community. Their message needs to be loud clear. Follow the public health guidelines, and, unless you have other medical contraindications, get vaccinated.
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
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. How to protect yourself and others. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Archive of covid research. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/science-and-research.html
Dr. Bob Dorsett
Good morning, America
Good morning, America. 2020 has now passed through. Good, bad and ugly, we knew it wouldn’t last. With God, guns and ol’ glory we’ve nothing to fear.We must keep these things close to our hearts for they are so dear.
As we move forward in our lives here today give thanks and hugs and do not sway, for this is what America is about.
Stand strong, stand fast and do not doubt.
Your children and grandchildren deserve the best.
You may have to fight hard and long without much rest.
If we stand together in our world today, we’ll get back to work and school and play.
So as you move forward in 2021,
Be kind and caring for you are the one.
So as Americans I want you to know,
The world needs us to sparkle like the bright , shiny snow.
We must pull together and stand as one,
To prove to the world our work is not done.
So as Americans given a new start,
Put a skip in your walk and love in your heart.
God bless America.
Fast tracking wolves
Residents of Rio Blanco County,
I strongly encourage you to write a letter to the Wildlife Commission voicing your concern about any effort to fast track the introduction of wolves in Colorado. The wolves have been misrepresented and the impact they will have has been skewed to persuade voters that they are needed in our ecosystems. It has been stressed to voters that the wolves are necessary to manage wildlife populations and maintain streams and riparian areas, but this is far from accurate. Wolves are already present in northwest Colorado and if the State introduces even more wolves into our area, they will decimate our wildlife and impose yet another severe hit to our local economy.
It is crucial that the people of the western slope become vocal about the damage that the wolves will inflict and ensure that the State adheres to the process that the voters voted on which said they would hold hearings statewide. If the effort to fast track the introduction of wolves prevails, it will be disastrous to our state and communities. We must make the Commission aware of the negative impacts that introduction will have on the Western Slope. You can find numerous resources on the White River and Douglas Creek Conservation Districts website www.whiterivercd.com/wolves to help you have your voice heard. Please send letters to the State Wildlife Commission asap.
We are writing this to give a shout out to a couple of gals, who in our opinion, really rallied and stepped up to the plate during the turmoil of 2020. Those two people are Alice Harvey (RBC Public Health) and Niki Turner (Editor Rio Blanco Herald Times). As we are all aware 2020 was a difficult and trying year, so all the more important to have people, in key positions, who can maintain professionalism and integrity to their community during adverse times.
Ms. Harvey had the very difficult task of monitoring, reporting and relaying Covid statics, while keeping the community informed of government Covid guidelines as well as overseeing public health testing and tracing, not to mention untold meetings with county commissioners to advise on strategies. A monumental task was thrust upon her in an unprecedented pandemic. She kept a cool head and gave sound advice based on the facts and CDC guidelines. Likewise, Ms. Turner had the equally difficult task of keeping the citizens of Rio Blanco County informed of new developments and reporting the facts and statistics, which she did in an unbiased and neutral manner. There has been undeniable controversy in this community, however, as stated above Ms. Turner sticks to the facts and produces a quality newspaper that is very informative and worth reading. So kudos to both of these amazing ladies! We are very pleased to have such quality people in our community, you are the true heroes of 2020! Please keep up the good work, it doesn’t go unnoticed
Matt Wells and Sinclair Rios