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On mask mandates

By Staff | Sep 1, 2020

To the editor:

I understand the frustration of a recent letter writer — a highly respected internist on Sanibel — with the COVID-19 virus. I feel he is correct in wanting masks to be worn in indoor establishments. Out of doors on the other hand where we can almost always choose to be greater than 6 feet away, not so much. It has been shown that UV rays (sunshine) is very harmful to the virus although not instantly. It has been demonstrated that virus breathed out in humid air is more likely to drift to the ground. Again, not instantly. Caution and physical distancing is still a must.

The weekly numbers peaked in early July at about 15,000 and in Florida have fallen to about the 4,000 range. That is about 0.002 percent of the population of Florida which according to the 2019 census stands at 21.67 million people. For a pandemic, that in my estimation is pretty good control. I’m not sure if any human endeavor doesn’t have a few glitches in it. Lee County’s last figures were about 400 cases.

It has been shown that keeping children isolated and out of school is psychologically damaging. COVID is also not as lethal in the young. This would include teachers in the younger age group. This doesn’t mean people can’t die in these age groups, the likelihood is just extremely small. We still have death from the flu and other diseases. These must not be discounted just because of one virus.

My former hospital affiliates have resumed normal activity and their COVID cases have been dropping. Vitamin D seems to be helpful in bolstering the immune system as studies have showed that Vitamin D levels were lower in individuals who died than in those who survived. (Let’s not all go out and get sunburned though.)

I wish this was all over too as I just retired into this mess. Hard to enjoy retirement with everything so difficult to utilize. SARS-CoV- 2 (COVID-19) is not to be taken lightly. Elderly and persons with cancer or immune suppressed or other comorbidities are still at risk. I’m thankful that the president has taken the steps he has been able to, such as shutting down flights from China amongst other things.

Yes, this is a war. Just as Pearl Harbor caught us off guard, and we didn’t have tanks and planes in sufficient numbers, so we didn’t have PPE in adequate quantities. How many people have or even know how to use a sewing machine anymore? It is our individual and collective responsibility in how this will all turn out. Let’s just be Americans again and not hyphenated people.

Dr. Bruce Bielfelt