Barber’s creativity starts year off right
Starting off the New Year right with the ever increasing ingenuity of photographer Peter Barber, his “bird is the word,” on the front page of the Jan. 15 Sunday edition spoke to me, as I’m sure it did to the many Gazette readers, a Tufted Titmouse.
Janice Evans Thompson
Keep taking steps to prevent covid spread
Entering our fourth pandemic year, with over a million U.S. deaths and plummeting life expectancy, we now have safe, effective COVID-19 vaccines.
Individual and population protection, however, differ fundamentally. Our population will be protected only when the immune fraction increases significantly, whether by vaccination or past infection.
With COVID-19 rampant, only vaccinated or recently infected individuals are protected. We are protected by our individual immunity, not yet (adequately) by the immunity of others, which would reduce COVID-19 incidence and risk.
Infections reduce pressure on vaccination toward population protection.
Immunity acquired by infection differs from immunity acquired by vaccination. Vaccination is better, saving lives and preserving health.
Either way, however, immunity is protection, and protection is beneficial.
We are experiencing a winter surge of infections by emergent omicron subvariants that cause breakthrough infections better than their predecessors. Individual immunity therefore is essential for individual protection. Individuals cannot avoid contracting COVID-19 by assuming that others’ immunity has made the virus rare.
SARS-CoV-2 infections are dominated by omicron subvariants. The new bivalent vaccine boosters add protection against omicron, even if imperfect, including against infection and re-infection, severe covid, and long covid.
Broader-acting boosters and nasal vaccines are expected, possibly for the next round of boosters.
Unprotected people are returning to routine behaviors: mingling, vacationing, and going to stores, schools, and workplaces.
As a specialist in assessing and managing human health risks, I emphasize that covid is still not routine like the common cold. Being fully vaccinated, and practicing masking and distancing, remain important.
Robert A. Michaels, PhD, CEP
Focus state spending on school foundation
School leaders were relieved to learn Gov. Kathy Hochul intends to follow through in her commitment to fully fund education aid as part of the next state budget.
This I hope to see. I worked 37 years in the school system and feel my tax money was not put in the correct place first.
This is the foundation of our schools. The foundation is ignored.
But you will see technology programs and buildings built or swimming pools put in the higher grades.
I worked with challenged children. Yes, the foundation has reading and math programs and this is good. But these specialists can’t do it alone.
We need the first three years of a child’s life in school to have more classes, which means more teachers and teacher assistance.
The students I worked with were missing out. I have seen programs to help students after school, but these students are tired. Give me a break.
I do not care how much education our leaders of our schools have, but if you have no common sense, they have nothing. Or is it they do not care for students who struggle?
I listened to a principal, who gave a speech and talked about going to a child in middle school, who was taking a test crying.
She went up to him and found out he could not read or understand the test. Is this what we want?
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