Elected officials: Stand up for the truth about COVID

To the elected officials of North Central Washington:

We have a public health crisis which has cost many lives and caused chronic illnesses for many of those who survived. We have untold economic costs because of the virus. I know you are familiar with the state and local infection rates, deaths, and dollars lost statistics. You are aware that the people of Central Washington have a higher rate of COVID infections and deaths than other portions of the state.

You took an oath to be a public servant. It is now time that you serve the public and start standing up for the truth. I believe you see that wearing face masks and getting vaccinated is in everybody’s interest. We, the citizens of NCW, need you to endorse the science and support a campaign that encourages people to protect our families, healthcare workers, teachers, vulnerable populations, and our under 12-year-old children who cannot be vaccinated.

Look now at the COVID infection rates and deaths in states that refuse to endorse vaccines and mask mandates. Their hospitals are full and their healthcare workers are leaving. In these states hospitals are lining up emergency mortuaries to keep the dead until they can perform funerals. This is not a time to support antivaccine conspiracies and individual choice regarding masks.

It is time for you to stand up for our health care workers who are working overtime and burning out. It is time for you to stand up to protect our economy by reducing the incidence of COVID and opening up our businesses to everyone. It is time for you to help make our communities safer place to work.

If you fail to publicly stand up for mandates for vaccination in specific circumstances and masks when in public then you will help perpetuate a long cycle of repeated COVID outbreaks and more COVID variants. Your failure ensures years of frequent COVID-based restrictions on gathering, economic loss, illness, and deaths.

THOMAS ETTINGER,

MD, FACEP

Cashmere

As retired family physicians, together we have served the people of Wenatchee Valley for a total of over 100 years.

We are very concerned to know that so many of our neighbors do not trust the vaccines which prevent COVID-19 disease. Especially worrisome is that some in the medical field are still waiting to be vaccinated. We call on you to protect the people who need your care, including children and those with chronic illnesses. Get the vaccine, now. Please.

COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. As of Aug. 31 in the USA, over 370 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given. They are no longer new vaccines; we know a lot about them. While some people may have mild or moderate side effects, these usually last only a few days. Serious side effects due to the vaccines are very rare. Serious disease in the un-vaccinated is much more common.

For those fully vaccinated, the risk of becoming seriously ill and/or dying due to COVID-19 infection is very low; the risk of getting COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated is very high. While you may have no or minimal symptoms, many of you will develop serious illness, need hospitalization or ICU care, need a ventilator, or die; this can happen at any age, especially with the delta variant. If you survive, you may continue to suffer with “long COVID syndrome” long after the infection has resolved. Get the vaccine now. Please.

A skill of family physicians is to know whom to trust when our patients need help. Not all information is safe, trustworthy, or reliable.

If you still have concerns about these vaccines, please bring them to your personal primary care clinician, who can help you with reliable and trustworthy information, appropriate for your own and your family’s health. We encourage you to get the COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself, your patients, students, co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. For yourself and for all of us, please get the vaccine now.

CICI B. ASPLUND, MD

Wenatchee

BARBARA BATES, MD

East Wenatchee

PATRICIA ORTIZ, MD

Peshastin

SUSAN WESTERLUND, MD

Wenatchee

20 years after

On 09/11/01 we suffered probably the worst known terrorist attack ever at the hands of foreigners on American soil. Our nation came together as we subsequently tracked down the perpetrators and their leader halfway around the globe. If nothing else, our post 9/11 security measures have allowed us to avoid any follow-up disasters of this nature.

However, don’t believe for a minute that our country is immune from probably far more serious consequences from those who would like to destroy us. But nowadays, the perpetrators are probably not the war-mongers in Afghanistan or other faraway places, but more likely those who are American citizens right here in the USA.

Current-day “terrorists” come in the form of politicians who cry “fraud” anytime they lose an election and whose only political agenda is to keep citizens they disagree with from voting, as well as their troops who might stage an armed invasion of any house of government they perceive as not conforming to their own personal interests (see 01/06/21). This is the epitome of authoritarian government — exactly what our forefathers were attempting to leave behind some 250 years ago, and is about 180 degrees from patriotism and the democratic system that our Constitution intended for our nation.

Twenty years later, terrorism is alive and well, and we don’t have to look halfway around the globe to find it.

LARRY GLICKFELD

Wenatchee

Health care worker protests shameful

As an older and soon-to-be-retired physician, when I entered medicine it was considered not just a career, but also a calling. Primarily, that meant putting patients’ interests first and foremost, which by necessity often meant putting their interests above your own self-interests.

As such, I was surprised and saddened to see the recent protests by some health care workers opposed to the governor’s mandate requiring COVID vaccination for those in the health field without legitimate medical exception. I well realize the fervor with which many hold their erroneous misperceptions about the vaccine, which sadly became politicized early on. But, frankly, such protests by health workers are shameful and completely antithetical to the spirt of providing medical care, and those folks have no business working in this field.

We have had serious staffing shortages at my institution prior to COVID, and if this mandate exacerbates that due to resignations, so be it. I want my patients, and also family, friends and the general public, to trust they are getting not just the best but also the safest care possible at any health care facility.

This analysis can be extended to school system employees without legitimate medical reasons to not be vaccinated. Educating our youth has also been considered one of the “noble professions.” Although not their intent, those working in the school system who oppose and refuse vaccinations are willingly endangering children, most of whom cannot yet get vaccinated. This is irresponsible and indefensible.

By the way, the “my body, my choice” argument falls flat when “my choice” endangers others. There are “mandates” to not speed, drive drunk, smoke in grocery stores, etc., for rather obvious reasons. A mandate for vaccination is no different.

WILLIAM WICHETA, MD

Wenatchee

Sheriff’s politics trump his word to protect children

I am deeply concerned with the behavior of Sheriff Brian Burnett. Sheriff Burnett has made it abundantly clear that he will not shy away from using his office to promote his personal political agenda.

He has brushed aside the possibility of enforcing any restrictions during a deadly public health emergency and stated that his office will not enforce certain laws passed by the Washington State Legislature. But his announcement on Wednesday was unfathomable.

On Wednesday he announced that he would be removing school resource officers from four local school districts because Governor Inslee’s vaccination mandate requires school staff and contractors to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. He stated that this was his decision, a protest against what he calls an infringement on his officer’s individual rights.

In The World interview with the sheriff, Mr. Burnett admits that his office had a verbal agreement with four school districts to provide resource officers for the 2021-2022 school year. He has shown his politics trump his word to protect children. Mr. Burnett has made it abundantly clear that he will use the power afforded his office as a public safety officer to promote his personal political agenda. And today he has put politics above the safety of children in our county.

He did not talk with the officers who serve these districts to see if they were able and willing to comply with the governor’s vaccination mandate for schools. He did not survey his officers to see who would be willing to step into those positions knowing they would need to comply with the governor’s vaccination mandate. He simply used the safety of the children and staff of these districts as currency for his political gain. As a teacher in the Cascade School District, I am offended.

Mr. Burnett has lost my vote forever. I will actively campaign for his opponent in the next election and vote to recall him from office if such a measure should materialize. He needs to stop using his office to promote a political agenda and just do his job.

MIKE CAMP

Peshastin

Banning plastic bags means having to buy plastic bags

I’m struggling to understand the definition of “single-use bag” since I don’t personally know of anyone who doesn’t have multiple uses for them.

For example, every smaller garbage at my home. I can’t be the only one to see the irony in banning plastic bags, which will then force me to buy ... plastic bags.

In a sweeping acknowledgement that reusable bags can carry germs, many stores banned them after the COVID outbreak. Other stores that did not issue a full ban required that customers bag their own purchases as employees were not allowed to touch the reusable bags. Every bag is not washed after every use, and by the look of it, some never.

Prepare for longer waits in the checkout line. Instead of an efficient bagging system, cashiers will be straightening out and unfolding bags of various shapes and sizes. (Necessitating handling them). And doing their best to stuff the bags to capacity because customers don’t want to buy any more bags than they need to.

The cashiers will also be faced with determining if the customer is a WIC or other program recipient where the taxpayers foot the bill, and then they can go ahead and pack the Raid and the donuts in separate bags.

I guess we should all be OK as taxpayers that we are also stuck paying the bill for the doggie poop bags that are available in many state and local parks. Because if dog walkers aren’t getting their free bags with their groceries, how many will stop bothering to pick up after Fido if they must pay for his poop bag?

Especially now when businesses are already tremendously overburdened and struggling to stay afloat, it is unconscionable to add this bag mandate to their costs and concerns.

And speaking of businesses, as a 16-year merchandiser, I can attest to another issue that I haven’t seen addressed: Shoplifting. Will anyone be going through the unused pile of wadded up bags in your cart before you leave the store? It’s a great place to hide items you’re disinclined to pay for!

BONNIE SCHROEDER

Quincy

Keep Enloe Dam

I just want to say that I see no reason in the removal of Enlo Dam.

It may not have any use or purpose to anyone, but it has a lot of memories to people who live here.

I have been going there since I was a little kid, and it is so beautiful there. We used to go camping and fishing and it’s so peaceful there, so I really hope that they don’t remove it. It’s part of this little town’s history and I see no reason for it.

LINDA RYDMAN

Oroville