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Letters to the Editor for Friday, Aug. 7

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Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

Current covid threat is higher in Texas

In his August 1 letter to the Gazette (“Feel safer in Texas than in New York”) William F. Malec makes a logic error that leads him to an erroneous conclusion.
He points out that the daily death rate from COVID-19 in New York State [averaged over the entire time COVID-19 has been infecting people in the US] is 172 per 100,000 population while that of Texas is 17 per 100,000.
That makes him feel safer staying in Texas than coming to New York state. The present threat is not the long-term average death rate but the current death rate.
According to government statistics, the daily death rate per 100,000 averaged over the last seven days is 23 for New York State and 195 for Texas. A person in Texas has a much higher threat of dying of COVID-19 than a person in New York state.
Roger Grasier
Schenectady

Protect skin against cancer when outside

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are spending more time outside. Whether it’s to exercise, start a hobby like gardening, Mother Nature has become the new gym and our backyards/parks the new meet up places.
The Cancer Prevention in Action (CPiA) program wants to remind everyone when spending time outside you need to protect your skin against cancer.
Melanoma is the deadliest type and is mostly caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays.
UV rays come from the sun or indoor tanning devices. Nearly 4,000 New Yorkers get melanoma each year. Men, especially men older than 50, are at higher risk for melanoma because they’re more likely to work outdoors.
Good news, about 90% of melanomas can be prevented.
Follow these simple steps to lower your risk of skin cancer while enjoying the outdoors: Use broad-spectrum sunscreen with a 15 SPF or higher. Apply 15 minutes before going outdoors and again after swimming or sweating.
Wear a wide brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt and pants when possible. Wear sunglasses that block UVA/UVB rays. Avoid direct sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Follow these tips on cloudy days, clouds do not block UV rays.
The CPiA program works in local communities to raise awareness about skin cancer and the dangers of indoor tanning.
We provide education and help community partners to adopt policies that promote sun safety and prevent skin cancer.
CPiA is state-funded and works with schools, daycares, businesses, municipalities, and more. For more information about CPiA visit  www.takeactionagainstcancer.com or call 518-770-6815.
Kelsey Carpe
Amsterdam
The writer is health education promotions coordinator, Community Cancer Prevention in Action of Fulton, Montgomery & Schenectady Counties.

Covid figures don’t add up for Dems

The July 29 Gazette published a Washington Post column (“We can get back to normal by October”) that quoted the COVID-19 death rate for the United States as 423.6 per million persons.
In an effort to politically condemn Trump’s COVID-19 performance, they  compared the United States to a single suspiciously low Germany rate of 110.
On Aug. 2 the Gazette published a column by Paul Krugman (“America’s cult of selfishness is killing this country”) of The New York Times that also condemned Trump, stating without source information, that the United States had 15 times the death rate of the European Union or Canada.
Using population statistics from the internet and COVID-19 deaths from  www.ecde.europa.eu, I found that the United States has a current death rate of 474 , vs. the combined EU and UK value of 410, which means the U.S. is only 15% higher.
However, the United States fares better than most of the industrial nations of the EU: UK 579, Spain 606, Italy 575, France 466, Germany 110 and Canada 502.
For comparison, the New York state death rate is 1,665; New Jersey, 1764; and New York City 1,918.  Krugman and the Washington Post, of course, failed to condemn Cuomo, Murphy and DeBlasio, the Democratic leaders.
James Beard
Clifton Park

Don’t rush to open private schools

I was disappointed to read that private schools were charging full steam ahead with what seems like a shallow reopening plan.
As a retired educator with more than three decades as a middle school teacher, including some time working in the Diocese, I am calling for Bishop Gibbons and Brown School to cancel these plans to start classes in-person and prepare students and families for an online start.
While I agree that virtual education will always be inferior to in-person instruction, we must face the fact that it is not safe right now to gather so many people so often.
It is unfair to students to get their hopes up and unfair to faculty to have to make difficult choices between their careers and their health.
The schools’ time, effort and resources this summer should have been spent developing a proper internet interface for the school to use, and/or securing adequate resources for students and families instead of some homemade spacing device and some interior redecorating.
For Principal Jones to call it “a nice geometry experiment” is wholly inappropriate.
While I’m sure the comment was made in jest, this is no laughing matter.
The health, safety and security of students, faculty and staff should never be relegated to an experiment or guess.
If the school is asking for parents and families to pay tuition, there should be no guesswork about it; their health should be certain.
You have one month of summer vacation left. Make it count.
Max Ross
Schenectady

Factor in harm of kids staying home

The reopening of schools requires critical thinking and a rational response.
We’ve consistently heard emotional and fear-driven statements perpetuated by a biased media and our state/local government leaders and school officials.
Our leaders say they believe in the science/data, only to act to the contrary.
I believe it has everything to do with politics and little to do with public health.
These same leaders rolled out emergency decrees, seemingly without regard to the consequences, to include millions without jobs and the shutdown of our schools and churches.
Yet, liquor stores, CBD stores, and Wal-Mart remained open.
The following was referenced on the CDC website on July 28:
“The best available evidence indicates that COVID-19 poses relatively low risks to school-aged children.
“Children appear to be at lower risk for contracting COVID-19 compared to adults.  …as of July 17, 2020, the United States reported that children and adolescents under 18 account for fewer than 7% of cases and less than 0.1% of related deaths.
“Based on current data, the rate of infection among younger school children, and from students to teachers, has been low, especially if proper precautions are followed.”
We need to account for the severe harms of not having in-person school, including depression/anxiety, child abuse, social isolation, limited learning, “screen time” and compromising children’s immunity.
Don’t we care about these issues? Isn’t that what public policy is about, weighing what you’re doing, not just stopping this virus at all costs?
 We can’t hide from a virus and never could.
Susan Walker
Niskayuna

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