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LETTERS for the April 23 issue

By Staff | Apr 23, 2020

Let’s beat this pandemic

Just when you think people on Maui can’t get any more ridiculous, every doctor, nurse and health department official in the county, state and federal government is telling us to stay home.

But people want to whine and complain because they can’t go to the beach? And then when the mayor has to get tough and have roadblocks – because people aren’t listening – they complain about that, too? Wise up!

Also, in the middle of all this, the County Council thinks it’s a good idea to defund tourism when thousands of people have lost their jobs.

Our economy is going to need a jumpstart after all this, so people can get back to work, and they want to play politics right now?

It’s the same suspects as usual: Councilmembers Rawlins-Fernandez, Paltin, King and Sinenci.

If you don’t know by now, the priorities on Maui are health first – let us beat back this pandemic so old geezers like me get to enjoy life for a couple more years – then we need to get our young people back to work.

If any councilmember doesn’t agree to this, let’s vote the bums out.



Police were helpful in moped theft case

A few months ago, my moped got stolen. Lahaina Police caught the thief and returned the moped to me with a new, lousy paint job, no license, broken parts, etc.

I want to say that I appreciate the police for retrieving my property and the way I was treated. The officer was very helpful – to the point of starting the engine for me when I could not!

I hope that requiring license plates on mopeds has reduced the amount of thefts.



Help the Earth by changing your diet

With the 50th anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, we are already reducing our carbon footprint during the pandemic by curtailing travel.

But we can do so much more by cutting our consumption of animal meat and milk products.

Yes, that. A recent article in the respected journal Nature argues that animal agriculture is a major driver of climate change, of air and water pollution, and of depletion of soil and freshwater resources.

Oxford University’s prestigious Food Climate Research Network reports that solving the global warming catastrophe requires a massive shift to plant-based eating.

In an environmentally sustainable world, we must replace meat and dairy products with vegetables, fruits and grains, just as we replace fossil fuels with wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.

We can begin with a one-minute New York Times food test at www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/04/30/climate/your-diet-quiz-global-warming.html. Then, let’s celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day at our supermarket.



Correcting a faulty belief about COVID-19 will save lives

In times of emergency, misperceptions can prove deadly. That’s certainly the case today, amid widespread belief that COVID-19 mainly threatens older Americans. In reality, those of any age suffering from an underlying health condition are at significant risk of complications from COVID-19. And when these patients fail to take proper precautions, they put their own lives – and the health of millions of people – in jeopardy.

By and large, younger Americans have been the slowest to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This response is partly the result of a misunderstanding. The Centers for Disease Control specifically highlighted the threat COVID-19 posed to older individuals and those with preexisting chronic conditions.

Many Americans felt they didn’t fall under this warning. For them, it conjured distant images of 90-year-olds on ventilators.

But the health conditions that can complicate COVID-19 aren’t unique to the elderly. Heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, lung disease and asthma all impact younger and middle-aged people, too.

For instance, nearly four in five Americans with heart disease are younger than 65. More than a one in three in their 40s or 50s have high blood pressure. And roughly one in six of those aged 45 to 64 have some form of diabetes.

This means that many Americans who appear perfectly healthy actually fall within the high-risk group. The failure to internalize this fact has already led to avoidable tragedy.

It’s time all patients with underlying conditions adequately protected themselves – and others – from this deadly pandemic. Here’s how:

1) Regularly wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, especially after sneezing or coughing. If running water and soap isn’t available, use hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol.

2) Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

3) Stay at home as much as possible, and work from home if you can.

4) If someone in your home is sick or has been in contact with a sick person, avoid them.

5) Disinfect frequently touched surfaces in your home every day.

6) If you must leave your home, remain at least six feet away from anyone you encounter (no handshakes; no large gatherings).

7) If you develop a fever or cough, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

Make no mistake – these are extreme measures, and they will require sacrifice.

But those with underlying conditions who fail to heed this guidance – no matter their age – are putting their lives at risk and helping to spread this dangerous illness.

KENNETH E. THORPE, Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease