Pertinent lessons

  While perusing letters to the editor in the May 6 edition, I concurred with the valid points expressed “On Leadership” by Dr. Bill and Peggy Warner. And being older than dirt, I started remembering back to boot camp days.

  Some of the Navy WAVE classroom lessons seem pertinent even today.

  A. Your responsibilities as a citizen should never be taken lightly or with the attitude “let someone else do it.” Every citizen should take an active part in government either on the local or national level.

  B. Peacetime responsibilities: 1. Vote in local and national elections. 2. Serve on juries. 3. Abide by the laws enacted by federal and state governments.

  C. Wartime responsibilities: 1. Citizens should serve in the armed forces if eligible. 2. Abide by emergency measures such as food rationing, air raid drills, etc. 

  It hasn’t been profitable or easy or stressless or run or even convenient weathing through this pandemic. But I do recall ancient times when a little girl came home from school with the mumps. Later, that girl had recovered, but now the dad and brother had the mumps. There was lost work, bills piling up, no contact with friends or family, etc. Little girl thought “bummer.”

  Different time, different place. Are we going to abide by emergency pandemic measures?

— Donna Trecker, Ferndale

 

Stay home, or wear a mask

  Our country is so divided, and COVID-19 has contributed to the schism. When we combine politics with science in today’s hyper-partisan environment, we end up with politics winning. That’s deadly in this pandemic.   

  If the virus were a foreign threat, with enemies sending bombing sorties, and Gov. Inslee told us to turn out our lights for blackout protection and halt economic activity, would people be protesting and keeping lights illuminated because they could? Even if it got us killed? I hope not. 

  I hope we’d agree we have an obligation, working together, to protect our community from this invisible threat. We need to protect each other, and one way is to wear a mask in public. Some people think wearing a mask infringes on personal freedom.

  Many think the death rate for COVID-19 is not a big deal. They should consider the thousands who “survive” the disease, but will never return to the lives they had. For example, Nick Cordero, a 41-year-old Tony-nominated actor, is struggling with COVID-19. Nick was admitted to the ER, put into a medically induced coma, intubated, ventilated and suffered cardiac arrest requiring resuscitation. He suffered multiple mini-strokes and restricted blood flow to leg, amputation of his right leg, sepsis infection, septic shock, and a fungus causing holes that make his lungs look like a 50-year smoker. His 10-month-old son and wife are waiting for any good news. Nick is not out of the woods. It’s too soon the know what his cognitive function will be. 

  Please stay home, and if you must go out wear a mask!

— Sheri Lambert, Laurel

 

A nurse practitioner’s view

  As a little girl growing up on Birch Bay-Lynden Road and graduating from Lynden High School, I never once considered the possibility that I would end up living and working as a nurse practitioner at a busy hospital (Montefiore Medical Center) in the Bronx. Of course, New York City is nothing like Lynden. It is loud and crowded here. There are no views of Mt. Baker. The ice cream is okay, but it’s not Edaleen’s. So while I’m very proud to call New York City my home, a part of me has never left Whatcom County.

  I have had the privilege and responsibility to speak to hundreds of patients and their family members as they live and die with severe complications of COVID. They are regular people with regular families and regular concerns about paying bills and feeding their families. They never thought they or their loved one would die from COVID. It is difficult to spend my days with them and then read reports of people in Lynden protesting that things aren’t that bad. Things are very, very bad. 

  I am mindful that as a healthcare worker during a pandemic, I have had job security that others do not enjoy. I can’t imagine what it would be like to abruptly stop receiving my paycheck. Likewise, I can’t imagine what it would be like to not be able to visit a loved one in the hospital.  When my mom Diane died at the University of Washington Medical Center in January, we were welcome whenever she had the energy for visitors and stayed by her side until her last breath.

  Today, for the safety of everyone, only one visitor is allowed in the hospital when a patient is at the end of their life and most goodbyes are made through video calls. It is horrible, and I have had the honor of holding the hand of patients while their family member said goodbye. Many of those calls include tears of regret that they didn’t do more to protect their loved one from exposure to the COVID infection.

  On behalf of the families who have already lost those they care about most, I encourage each of us to think of what we would be willing to temporarily sacrifice for the safety of our loved ones.  

  I do know that New York is far from Lynden. I appreciate that more than most people. But for now, let’s stay safe, let’s follow the instructions from the public health experts, and let’s protect our families and loved ones. 

— Jessica Nymeyer, New York City

 

Freedom

  Long have I feared the day our country would deny its founding principles and use the power by the people upon the people. Within a few weeks, we, the American people, were stripped of our rights to exercise the freedoms granted in the U.S. Constitution.

  Here, the governor pulled an executive order to call a state of emergency. The state constitution has no limitations, no checks and balances, to limit the governor in this “state of emergency.” How is it that with one frightening virus, our state deprives us the freedom to make our own choices about our health? How is it that the governor can roll out “contact tracing” with no backlash? Since when, did we ask the state to become our health’s protector, to decide if we ought to stay home, to ask personal questions in the name of public health? 

  While many argue these measures are for a season and for the good of all, where is the line drawn? When does the state have the power to decide what is best for our personal health? To angle the case for a vaccine so we quietly allow the government to inject content into our bloodstream? To shut us out from church, keep us from family, all in the name of health?

  This only sets a precedent. The control now used will easily be reinstated in any future public “threat.” Some may argue similar scenarios in times of war. However, the enemy here is an illness that the majority of people recover from! 

  America’s early settlers sought freedom. Shed blood maintained it. Shall we forget American sacrifice and bow before the state due to a virus? Liberty, oh, so quintessential! It caused a righteous man to proclaim, “Give me liberty, or give me death!”

— Vanessa Vis, Lynden 

 

Grateful to Governor Inslee

  I appreciate our local, county and state leaders who value the lives of Washingtonians enough to make tough decisions in a crazy, traumatic time. 

  It’s a terribly difficult time financially. I feel so sorry for business owners and workers who are losing so much. But as long as we have life, we can start again, difficult as that may be. If someone dies, they’re gone for good.

  I know the people of this area value life since I see pro-life signs and displays all around. Being cautious and sacrificing is another way of being pro-life. Maybe your sacrifice will save the life of someone else. Maybe someone else’s sacrifice and precaution will save your life or a family member’s. 

  I appreciate Governor Inslee for his abundance of caution and clear communication. I believe our local, county and state leaders are doing what they can to protect us — you, me, and our loved ones, and I’m grateful for that.

— Tracie Lamb, Lynden

 

Let’s stick to the facts

  Over the last few weeks the national media, local rumor mill and even the letters to the Tribune have been laced with sarcasm, innuendo, conjecture, rumor, opinion, inductive reasoning, hearsay, speculation, denial, misinformation, ideology and politics.

  Let’s look at a few of the facts and then make informed decisions on how to react.

FACTS: This is not the first pandemic. There have been at least eight others including the Bubonic Plague, Smallpox, Spanish Flu, AIDS, Polio, MERS, Ebola, SARS 1 and now SARS Cov 2, or COVID-19, which stands for Corona Virus Disease 2019. 

  Corona in Latin simply means crown, and refers to the spikes surrounding the coronavirus. This virus is 10 times more deadly than the flu. 

  In Whatcom County there have been 353 cases thus far and 35 of those have died. That is a 10% death rate compared to a national 6%. If you live in Whatcom County, you have at least a 1-in-650 chance of getting the virus. Places without social distancing are 35 times more likely to spread the virus, for example, grocery store, hardware store, walk-in food services, etc.

  COVID-19 does not spread just one-to-one, but is exponential, which means that one can infect many and those infect hundreds and those infect thousands and so on into the millions in a very short time. You can spread the virus and not know it because it is asymptomatic. You may feel great and have no symptoms, and possibly kill someone else and not know you were the source.

  A cough or sneeze can spread droplets 6 feet or more. However, in closed areas that same cough or sneeze also spreads an aerosol mist up to 15 feet and it can stay in the area up to 30 minutes The best way to determine early on if you have it, before it attacks the lungs, is to purchase a Pulse Oximeter. They simply fit over the end of your finger and check the oxygen level in your blood long before you feel the damage in your lungs.

  At the moment there is no known prevention or cure. It strikes in dozens of ways from simple cold symptoms to heart failure, strokes, kidney failure, clots, severe lung damage and sometimes death. Many of those who survive are damaged for life, so recovery is a relative word.

  We are all anxious to get back to work and the so-called “normal.” However, you don’t have to look far to see what is happening as areas and countries relax the restrictions. Many of them are already rushing back to controls as they watch large increases in the virus immediately after relaxing controls.

  The good new is that hundreds of labs around the world are racing for a vaccine and several are very close to clinical trials. So I implore you to look at these facts and then make  informed decisions and statements. Work at becoming a part of the solution and not part of the problem. And, as a show of respect, and love for your neighbors, wear a mask! But make sure it is an effective type and wear it correctly.

— Bob Hawkins, Lynden

 

Perspective

  It’s a mess out there now. It’s hard to discern between what’s a real threat and what is just simple panic and hysteria.

  For a small amount of perspective at this moment, imagine you were born in 1900. On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and it ends on your 18th birthday. 22 million people perish in that war. Later in your 18th year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. 50 million people die from it in those two years. Yes, 50 million.

  On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25%, the World GDP drops 27%. That runs until you are 33. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts. You aren’t even over the hill yet. And don’t try to catch your breath. On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into this war. Between your 39th and 45th birthday, 75 million people perish in the war. 

  Smallpox was an epidemic until you were in your 40s, and it killed 300 million people during your lifetime. At 50, the Korean War starts. 5 million perish. From your birth, until you are 55 you dealt with the fear of polio epidemics each summer. You experience friends and family contracting polio and being paralyzed or dying.

  At 55 the Vietnam War begins and doesn’t end for 20 years. 4 million people perish in that conflict. During the Cold War, you lived each day with the fear of nuclear annihilation. On your 62nd birthday you have the Cuban Missile Crisis, a tipping point in the Cold War. Life on our planet, as we know it, almost ended. When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.

  Think of everyone on the planet born in 1900. How did they endure all of that? If you were a kid in 1985 you may have thought your 85-year-old grandparent didn’t understood how hard school was. And how mean that kid in your class was. Yet they survived everything listed above.

  Perspective is an amazing and valuable gift. It is refined and enlightened as time goes on. Let’s try to keep things in perspective. Your parents and/or grandparents were called upon to endure all of the above — today we are being called upon to stay home and sit on the couch.

— Darryl Ehlers, Lynden