To the Editor:
Regarding your Sept. 8 editorial, yes, you should follow the science. In physical science no matter how many times you drop an apple it will hit the ground. It will be useful if your readers understand that medical science is different.
Because the human genome differs in most people, a drug or vaccine that works for me may not work for you. So, the “best medical evidence” is as good as it gets. It was tested on thousands and found to be roughly 95% effective.
At that point, it’s time for action, and most politicians and news sources were right in saying so. If your politicians or news sources say anything different, I urge you to look elsewhere. Your life, and the lives of others, depends on it.
• • •
To the Editor:
Our high school classes of long ago gave us foundational knowledge before all the COVID-19 hullabaloo began. In history class, we learned that the 1918 Spanish Flu became a worldwide deadly viral pandemic propelled by returning infected World War I soldiers. St. Louis was one of the largest cities in the nation but we faired markedly better than others because our leaders, despite public uproar, closed schools, theaters, pool halls, and churches. We became a model city on pandemic management.
In social studies we learned that primary sources were usually more accurate than secondary, or tertiary sources. Virologists, physicians, and data analysts are primary sources. Their lifework requires years of study, research, and clinical experience. Read what they write. Watch their interviews. Politicians are after your vote. News outlets are after ratings. But you have your very health and life at stake.
In biology we learned that viruses need a living host to survive. Once they enter our bodies they reproduce, make us sick, and spread to others. They range from the common cold to serious influenzas, from some pneumonias to a few that are novel in that we have no experience with them. They can be lethal such as Ebola, West Nile and COVID-19. Apart from vaccines, we know that hand washing, covering one’s mouth when coughing and staying home when sick, slows their spread.
Science advances as experts learn more. Thankfully, many medical conditions that killed in decades past can be treated today. You have a choice: to rationally analyze and trust those whose lifework is viral study and medical care or you can toss all that you hear onto a spinning wheel and believe whatever flies out. It’s up to you.