Letter

printed 04/17/2020

Editor,

With the daily news cycle currently filled with stories regarding Covid-19, I truly believe that it is essential to our region and our country to put politics aside and insist that our elected officials at the local, state, and federal level deal with the coronavirus threat in a responsible manner.

Initial concerns were warranted and sincere, but it quickly became obvious that political grandstanding was irresistible. Creating fear translated into higher cable TV ratings and meant even more opportunity for politicians at all levels to gain a platform, and to then ramble on as if they were suddenly knowledgeable about the actual threat and what needed to be done.

Instantly, it became fashionable for governors and mayors to make declarations and create panic in our community. Network and cable news channels would provide cover by creating even more fear with sensationalism and by extrapolating the problems seen in New York City over the entire USA. While no facts supported the narrative, the “threat” of our hospitals being overrun and future supply shortages became the story, which again created panic.

According to every published report I’ve seen, the actual threat of illness and/or death is extremely low to citizens in our area, especially for healthy people without underlying health issues. But we never see or hear a report that puts the numbers in the prospective of a country with 330,000,000 citizens. It would be nice to hear 329,950,000 Americans will survive the virus

As of Monday, April 14, Ocean City had zero reported Covid-19 cases. Worcester County had approximately 20 cases, but zero deaths. So, to again stoke fear and panic, some continue to warn that any out-of-state visitors will surely bring the virus and expose us to an outbreak, as if we have no control of our own actions while we’re out and about.

We should obviously evaluate the actual risks of the virus based on the facts, not the worst-case scenario or motivations of ambitious politicians.

Other factors should also be considered when determining what actions will be taken. We need to consider what governmental actions are appropriate and most effective, and what actions are counter-productive to the overall public health.

I feel strongly that we need to be concerned about the assault on civil liberties when citizens are threatened by police or public officials to not congregate. We should be realistic about the actual damage to families and marriage that will occur when jobs are lost, and understand that high unemployment will fuel more substance abuse and suicide.

We should weigh the effects of social isolation, which will most likely lead to an increase in mental illness and more depression at a time we have a shortage of mental health professionals. We need to accept the fact that businesses are failing and will to continue fail. We now need to determine how we can reduce the number that will fail?

So, while there are definite risks associated with lifting restrictions and allowing people to move around freely to conduct business, and live to their lives, I believe there are greater long-term risks associated with not doing so. Economic risks as well as other risks.

We need to take back our lives! And We need to get back to Work! I feel we all also need to work to educate, protect, and help those identified as high-risk and those most vulnerable to the coronavirus. And those at high risk will also need to use common sense, ask for help when needed, and work to protect themselves. We all know the routine since it has been the mantra for three months. And it makes sense — Practice good personal hygiene, keep your distance, avoid touching your face, and if you’re not well, stay home and limit your exposure. Let’s all do our best to be responsible and use common sense.

Michael James

Ocean City 

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