May 14 Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

As an instructor of rock climbing and rappelling for 22 years, one of my personal safety rules has been, “If there is a simple thing that we can do to make it safer, do it.”

Often there are simple steps that require very little effort, that may not normally be necessary, but that can make a BIG difference if things go wrong.

Like wearing a bicycle helmet, which is easy to put on and rarely needed, but if you fall on your head, it can save your life.

This influences my thinking as I encourage all people to wear masks in public. Since the Center for Disease Control is still advising us that we can be contagious with coronavirus even if we have no symptoms, a mask is a simple precaution.

Why don’t we all work together to protect one another? My mask protects you and your mask protects me. Wearing a mask during a store visit is simple and might make a big difference.

Pam Gaddis



Dear Editor,

“For COVID-19 prevention is not better than the cure, prevention IS the cure, at least for the time being.”

The quote is from an article in European Scientist by U.K. cardiologist and consultant to the National Health Service, Dr. Aseem Malhotra. The title of the article is “Covid-19 and the elephant in the room.” Malhotra states in the article that the elephant in the room is the baseline general health in many western populations. In the U.K. and U.S. more than 60% of adults are overweight or obese. “How is that relevant to COVID-19?” he asks. “It is well known in the medical literature that excess body fat induces immune dysregulation and chronic inflammation which is directly linked to the cytokine storm that is responsible for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome seen in influenza and respiratory viruses.”

I was shocked to read that “only 12% of American adults are considered metabolically healthy, with less than a third of normal weight people in this category.”

“A recent commentary in Nature states that ‘patients with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome might have up to 10 times greater risk of death when they contract COVID-19.”’ My concern is for the health of the general population. I prefer to live in a society of healthy, productive citizens who are not dependent upon the pharmaceutical industry for the treatment of symptoms of degenerative disease.

After listening to endless conversation in the media and social media about COVID-19 and how we should prepare for the next pandemic, it seems to me that most are overlooking the most effective thing to deal with the high mortality rates associated with such viruses and that is PREVENTION.

An effective vaccine or medical cure may be long in coming. Can we ever have enough hospital beds and ventilators for such a major pandemic? David Leet, in his letter last week suggests that we should not burden our local hospital with victims of COVID-19.  Those who are concerned about how to lower the risk of death for themselves and their family members from the virus, even from the seasonal flu virus, might consider a change in diet. The culprits in the metabolic syndrome epidemic are sugar and highly refined carbohydrates, both of which are contained in almost all of our processed food and beverages. Read those labels. According to the World Health Organization –– I know, much maligned by Trump –– male adults should have no more than eight teaspoons of sugar a day, six for females to maintain health. That’s less than the sugar in a bottle of Coke or a candy bar. The key to good health and protection from disease is whole food prepared at home just like our grandmothers did, or in some instances still do. As Hippocrates, the Greek father of medicine, said, many centuries ago FOOD IS MEDICINE. Unlike many who live in the food deserts of inner cities and rural areas, we are blessed with local supermarkets and local farmers’ markets where health sustaining food can be purchased.

To your good health,

Joel Gormley



Dear Editor,

A May 9 article in the Austin-American Statesman quoted Governor Abbott as saying Texas was “one of the best states in the United States for bending the curve (of the coronavirus).” That is a lie.

When Abbott issued a statewide stay-at-home order on April 2, there were 672 new cases of coronavirus reported. The peak in reported cases came on April 10 with 1441 new cases. The next 19 days were relatively flat with an average of 810 cases per day. Then, on April 30, the day before Abbott’s “begin reopening” order the number of new cases jumped to 1,033 and for eight of the next ten days new cases were over 1,000 per day, averaging 1,078.

Since 1,078 is considerably larger than the 810 average of the previous 19 days, it is clearly impossible for the curve to be bending as Abbott claimed. In addition, the article quoted some rather nutty statistics which apparently did not come from Abbott. For instance, it claimed Texas has an infection transmission rate of 0.81, meaning the rate of new infections is declining. How they got that number, given the ten day average of 1,078 new cases per day makes no sense.

Regarding testing, Abbott, like his mentor in Washington, likes to brag about how great his testing program is, while, in fact, testing per capita in Texas is the sixth worst in the country. On the positive side, until only a few days ago it was the fifth worst. Not something I would brag about.

The bottom line is that right now coronavirus infections throughout Texas are considerably greater than they were when the state was shut down. And with people once again traveling around, interacting with all of us, our chances of getting infected are also greater. That said, reopening businesses now is just plain stupid.

Fred Gossien



Dear Editor,


Observe the latest rightwing charade reshaping reality. The Dallas-area hairstylist jailed for disobeying “stay-at-home” orders is their disinformation campaign’s main focus. Consider it the 2020 Acorn hit-job.

Nobody is happy, with so many hurting financially, physically and emotionally. We’re all stressed. Please behave like mature citizens during an unprecedented emergency. COVID-19 is not the flu! It is bad enough having to be told to exercise reasonable cautionary measures protecting others wellbeing, but armed to the teeth in public is another era’s “Brown Shirts” and their irresponsible bullying.

Public and private institutions are exposed, unable to cope without a coordinated national response. Dire economic conditions fall into the lap of an incompetent president’s rudderless administration.

Remember the Demagogue-in-Chief’s pandering “Democrat hoax!”? Now, it’s his deadly body count, having failed to respond when informed months earlier.

Also, direct ire to Congressional GOPers and Trump-inspired governors. 2017’s tax measure created massive deficits.

Health insurance tied to employment is useless when unemployed. Many GOP states refused Medicaid expansion. Governors reopen, notwithstanding a pandemic having its way. That’s their ticket to disaster!

Trump is seeking to portray an improving economy while claiming fewer deaths. Consider him very adept at deception, conniving votes for a charade of a human being incapable of compassion!

Everything Trump touches dies; from Casinos to effectively disemboweling the CDC.  He’s engaged the Defense Production Act only once, forcing workers in already proven high-risk meat packing plants back to work while GOP governors threaten withholding unemployment benefits. Wasn’t slavery abolished?

Labor coerced or compelled by such threats is tantamount to slavery, if not the crime of “extortion.” So-called law-abiding rightwing radicals protesting social distancing in the name of freedom is about 155 years misplaced!

Rev. Barry Abraham Zavah



Dear Editor,

I find it interesting that people are coming to this area because of asthma. Yes, in general we have excellent air quality. But for example on May 6, if you checked the air quality index and air quality on the weather app it was very bad.

When I checked to the north it was good and to the south it was very bad, with an air quality index around 125! The highest values were across the border! To compare, on May 7, the air quality index is 61 and the air quality is rated as moderate. You do not have to be a meteorologist to realize that something is wrong! And yes, sorry to say, we do not have the cleanest air!

Verena Zbinden