I would like to have us consider the points made by Mr. Williams in The Valley Reporter of May 28, 2020.

To describe our response to COVID-19 as a phobia does a disservice to our justified concerns. Phobia implies "an inexplicable or illogical fear." Our initial response to this virus is neither inexplicable nor illogical.


1. Of what relevance does citing Niall Ferguson's model as "the most devastating software mistake of all time" have on our concerns regarding COVID-19? Does citing a poor, inaccurate model negate the usefulness of more accurate and proven models?

2. What relevance does citing the authority of Bloomberg's assertion that "lockdowns haven't proved they're worth the havoc”? The havoc is the economic price that the lockdown policy accepts in order to save lives. Here, selective and misleading statistics are cited to show that "No-lockdown Sweden" has not endured its own havoc. In fact, in contrast to neighboring Norway, Finland and Denmark, the per capita death rate in Sweden is troubling:

From Statista: Deaths per million since April: Sweden 358, Denmark 93, Finland 53, Norway 44.

From Business Insider: Sweden has 10 times the death rate per 100,000 of Norway – Sweden 17.3 per 100,000; Norway 3.37 per 100,000.

From Bloomberg Opinion (Why not?): Mortality rates for the year in Norway and Finland are normal while the rate in Sweden is very high.This article points out that Sweden has accepted more deaths in exchange for group immunity. Fair enough, but let's not pretend Sweden has not suffered from its choice.

3. Advocating for isolation of the elderly supports the idea that isolation works. The question is, for whom shall we provide this shelter?

4. It is true that COVID social distancing policy grew out of a high school experiment. Why leave it there? Does this allusion to the origin of research in a high school experiment undermine its validity? It turns out that this experiment provided the initial impetus for serious research on social distancing. Eventually, this research led to the G.W. Bush and Obama administrations to adopt a policy, not without opposition, that would make use of "multiple measure like closing schools or shutting down public gatherings ... to limit the death toll." Also, according to epidemiologists at the University of Notre Dame, cited in Neuroscience News, 4/28/20, "Studies have shown that social distancing measures are the most effective strategy currently available to reduce transmission of the highly infectious [COVID] virus." There is, in fact, a great deal of evidence on the efficacy of social distancing. (This is not to say that there are no negative side effects.)

5. "COVID mask wearing is ineffective and unhealthy." No one, including Dr. Fauci who advocates wearing masks, claims that a mask protects the wearer! The mask is meant to protect others from the wearer's COVID-19 droplets. Furthermore, no one claims the need to wear a mask while driving!


6. To the extent that HCQ may be effective in treatment of COVID-19, it is to be used under the care of a doctor and has been shown to be a serious cardiovascular risk.

7. As far as I know, it's accurate to say that medical protocols in the face of COVID are constantly revised as medical professionals learn more. However, to discover a simple way to discover the symptom of a lack of oxygen "uptake" does not preclude the need for the treatment provided by a ventilator.

8. "And herd immunity costs no one a single cent." This goes to the heart of the strategy of herd immunity expressed in monetary terms: "a single cent." To await the immunization of the species does not mean that there is no cost to individual's lives which are sacrificed for the good of the economy and the "race."

9. The COVID-19 death rate does not mirror but far exceeds "a rugged seasonal flu." To equate the death rates of seasonal flu and COVID is a common but mistaken claim that is a consequence of a confusion of statistical analysis, a comparison of "apples and oranges" as described in Scientific American, 4/28/20, and JAMA, 5/14/20.

10. The "COVID cure is worse than the disease." To which cure does this allude?

11. I have no doubt about the heavy influence (dominance?) of powerful interests on COVID policy, but to say that "COVID trusted experts are all big pharma partners …" is a stretch.

Does this include Dr. Fauci of the NIH who is cited approvingly in this article? If all the media is in the thrall of big pharma, to whom do we turn to discover accurate information?

The use of hyperbolic “all” twice in this paragraph makes me queasy and brings to mind the array of conspiracy theorists corrupting our national conversation.

What does getting "back to be fully human" mean? On the issue of COVID-19, there are two divergent answers.

Tom Dean

Waitsfield, Vermont