Use of irritants by police is unhealthy
I am deeply alarmed by the Saratoga Springs Police Department (SSPD)’s use of respiratory irritants during a peaceful protest last month.
While the SSPD statement released by Public Safety Commissioner Robin Dalton notes “the use of [pepper] spray and pepper projectiles is on the lower end of the use of force continuum,” this unfortunately is not true in the context of the current pandemic.
In fact, over 1,000 infectious disease and public health professionals recently penned an open letter offering guidance to public health officials to oppose any use of “respiratory irritants which could increase risk for COVID-19 by making the respiratory tract more susceptible to infection, exacerbating existing inflammation, and inducing coughing.”
By condoning SSPD’s reckless use of respiratory irritants during a pandemic, Commissioner Dalton risks the lives of the greater Saratoga Springs community, especially elders and people at increased risk for severe illness.
The fact that Dalton cannot recognize the commonsense severity of this public safety error should be grounds for her resignation.
Kerim Odekon, MD
The writer is a graduate of Saratoga Springs High School and Skidmore College.
Papers underplayed Trump Mideast win
I am not surprised that The Gazette once again relied on The New York Times to minimize the biggest story in three decades that brought three Middle East nations together into signing a peace agreement.
The story of this historic event was placed on page 2 (with no pictures, of course) and titled, “Trump hosts Israel, UAE, Bahrain leaders.”
Sounds like Trump merely hosted an afternoon tea.
Of course, more important stories were seen on page one, “Landlords Rally…” and “Two [school] districts tackle rebel flag ban.” As for the article in question, The New York Times also failed to mention the expectation of several more Middle East nations to follow, and that the Palestinians were not invited into discussions because they are not a nation. I guess The New York Times and The Gazette always print the real stories.
Come together to prevent covid deaths
Last week’s calendar reminded us again of the tragic day in New York City that claimed the lives of 2,977 Americans. Gone were children, siblings, parents, coworkers, and friends.
Our country rightly mourned and we were unified in our grief. All of us remember where we were and who we were with when we saw the graphic video and still images of the day.
Nineteen years later, the CDC reports that nearly 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
Of those dead, nearly 5,300 are under the age of 44 and nearly 15,000 are under the age of 54.
Let the gravity of those numbers sink in. These were people in the prime of their lives, just like those who perished on 9/11.
Why are some so callous about these historic numbers of deaths? I’ve read many letters in this paper from people who want to rush to open bars and gyms and many more letters that refuse and mock mask wearing.
Instead, we should be coming together like in the aftermath of 9/11. Each year we honor those lost on 9/11 by reading aloud the names of all 2,977 dead.
A similar ceremony commemorating those taken by COVID-19 would take over a week. Our actions today can make a difference.
Please wear a mask, social distance, and heed the advice of health experts to prevent more needlessly lost lives. These are the simplest and most basic acts to help safeguard our community.
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