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Officials need to protect area

To the editor:

Early reports seem to indicate that the new COVID-19 virus affects most children relatively mildly. On the other hand, it has proven to kill an alarming percentage of older folks who get it. From what I have read, this thing spreads from person to person more easily than the flu, so at this point I’m pretty sure it will get up to our neck of the woods eventually.

Already we hear how there is a shortage of facemasks for use by medical people. Since the virus most often kills by interfering with breathing, it stands to reason that many lives may hinge upon the availability of artificial respiration machines in our hospitals. Well we only have so much of that type equipment, and more costs money, and production of more is probably going to be stalled by industry shutdowns in China and elsewhere.

So our best chance of not overwhelming the equipment we do have is to slow down how rapidly the virus spreads through our community. Assuming, as I hope, that the virus is indeed mild in its effects upon children, we should not let that lull us into sluggishness when it comes to closing down our schools at the first hint of trouble. Schools are certainly a tremendous swapping-ground for viruses, and our kids are going to be carrying those germs out to every corner of our community, including over to grandma and grandpa’s house. Due to the mild form the infection often takes on in individual cases, plus its similarity to common cold symptoms, we cannot rely upon the judgement of parents regarding if their kids should go to school or not. Nor can we expect kids to wash their hands well enough to make much difference, when the virus is primarily spread through airborne particles.

Panic is never a good thing, but we should not mistake for panic a readiness and a willingness to take swift and decisive action. The lives of many of our elderly may hinge upon our schools being shut down quickly at the first hint of COVID-19 in our area.

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