Appalling mask comments
... I was appalled when reading about the public comment section of the July 13 council meeting concerning a face mask requirement.
The issue seemed to center around the idea that requiring a mask when out in public would infringe on individuals’ rights of freedom. This seems ridiculous as there are any number of state and federal laws that require individuals to do any number of things for the individual and public good: using seat belts, school truancy laws, vaccinations for school, travel regulations, quarantines, ... vision requirements for licensing, automobile registration, minimum auto insurance and, of course, traffic regulations.
Most such ordinances include fines if one doesn’t comply. ...
In addition, there are both state and federal provisions for issuing specific orders in emergency situations. ...
Lewiston enacted such an ordinance last spring, giving City Manager Alan Nygaard discretion in issuing such orders as he felt necessary relative to COVID-19 after consulting with the district health department and other entities. His draft proposal seemed thoughtful and measured, with consideration given to exceptions. ...
For individuals to summarily exempt themselves from an order to wear a mask in public is to set themselves above the welfare of the community. It is obvious from other nations’ compliance with stay-at-home, social distancing and mask orders that such behaviors work to suppress or eliminate viral spread. Every reputable epidemiologist, public health officer or physician worldwide understands this.
To use “violating my individual rights” as an excuse not to comply is disingenuous and manipulative. ...
No time for mandates
“Yes, wearing masks helps. Here’s why,” reads the headline at NPR.org.
The foundation for that assertion is the paper “Physical distancing, face masks, and eye protection to prevent person-to-person transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19: a systematic review and meta-analysis” published by the Lancet.
Both the NPR reporter and the research team point out that these studies were observational, not clinical — the latter being correctly described by NPR as “the gold standard” of research.
“Robust randomised trials are needed to better inform the evidence for these interventions, but this systematic appraisal of currently best available evidence might inform interim guidance,” wrote the Lancet.
And we should be so guided. Moreover, we should also be considerate when it comes to wearing masks for, as anyone who’s seen Blast from the Past knows: “A lady or a gentleman is someone who always tries to make sure the people around him or her are as comfortable as possible.”
However, when it comes to government mandates that impinge on the liberty of free citizens, only the gold standard is appropriate.
Right now there’s more hard data available on the efficacy of chicken soup for colds than there is for mask-wearing and COVID-19.
Right now is not the time for government-mandated mask use.
Right now is the time for encouragement, for education and for incentivizing mask use.
Our community leaders need to win hearts and minds on mask use and leave our wedding tackle alone.
Thomas A. Hennigan
New station warranted
Many people have been asking why the city has chosen to build a new fire station at Fifth and Bryden. This new fire station (to replace existing Station 4 by the airport) is sorely needed for several main reasons.
In a recent study, the existing Station 4 was described as such: “This 47-year-old station was found to have substantial programmatic and code-related issues and is inadequate in size to address current operational needs. Given the extent of the renovation that would be required, it will be more cost-effective to replace the existing facility. The response model suggests facility replacement should occur at an alternative location.”
What struck me the most from this study, however, was the statement “Cross-contamination is a problem throughout the station.”
This means our firefighters are being exposed to particulates that put them at increased risk for cancer and other health issues.
Constructing the new station will support the health of our firefighters, improve response times for fire and emergency medical services in our developing city and serve as a facility to protect expensive equipment needed for our brave men and women in the Lewiston Fire Department to serve our citizens.