/ Letters / ‘Paying the price’

‘Paying the price’

April 19, 2020

To the Editor:

Someone asks “Can a blind man be afraid of the dark?” Well, of course. As a kid I was. It’s not that dark scares us. It’s what might be hiding under the bed or closet. A monster. A boogeyman. It’s the unknown. The strongest and oldest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. What we don’t know, can’t see, can hurt us. Like a virus! The coronavirus pandemic scares us because we don’t know where it is, who has it and whether it will jump out at us. Our fear of the coronavirus is depriving us of the chance to live a normal life. It prevents students the opportunity to go to school, sports fans the joy of cheering for their favorite teams and all of us the freedom to mingle, clasp hands or hug one another to express our friendship and affection. Human beings are social animals, and even with text messaging, Facebook and Instagram, we still need and want physical contact with one another. Keeping our distance is hard. Perhaps it’s because we’re told not to visit a friend in the hospital or grandma in the nursing home that we suddenly want to visit. Fear can be that rational warning that keeps us from harm. But it can also immobilize us, causing us to do nothing or send us off in a panic — searching the stories for masks, sanitizers and toilet paper! Certainly we should have concern and stay informed. How do we do that? To whom do we turn? We must demand of our leaders that they speak the truth so we know the scope and depth of the danger and what we can do to lessen it for ourselves and out loved ones. We have to have faith and confidence in our government and our leaders and there lies the problem! Unfortunately, we have a Congress and a President who hardly speak to each other and look out only for their own wellbeing. President Trump speaks out of both corners of his mouth and cannot say anything without lying. He is surrounded by competent advisors but fails to listen to them because he thinks he knows more than any of them. It was known last December of the possibility of a strong virus sweeping across America. Apparently the warning was not taken seriously — hence we are in the situation of playing catch-up because we do not have enough gloves, masks, gowns and ventilators. Patients in New York are being treated in mobile trauma units and makeshift hospitals that were at one time empty warehouses. Garbage bags may be used because gowns are running short. Americans are making masks in their basements. Modifying scuba gear is also being thought of because of a serious shortage of ventilators. EMS people are already meeting extreme psychological stress. All of this and the virus has not even reached its peak! As a retired EMS provider of 34 years, my heart goes out to all of the personnel involved in caring for the sick. They are fighting a war with limited supplies and equipment against an invisible enemy. It is a mass-casualty in slow motion with no end in sight. America is paying the price for having an inadequately prepared government. Hopefully, we will all remember the coronavirus and make a lot of changes in the upcoming November elections starting at the top! In a March 29, 2020 TV appearance, our president said in a reference to the coronavirus, and I quote, “A loss of 100,000 deaths or less, we would have done a great job!” My response: This is America — not a third world country — are you crazy!


Art LaVoy

Rhinelander



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