Letters to the Editor

We need a bold news organization to take the lead in seeing that the pertinent facts about the coronavirus are made public. The numbers being reported seem intended to make things sound worse than they are. I realize that much of the data isn't easy to obtain (I've tried to dig it out myself). However it is essential for us to know the facts to assure that the decisions that are being made are in our best interest. Specifically, if your paper could provide the following it would be a great public service.

(1) When you report the daily number of cases include how many tests it was based on. Over the last four months test rates increased by an order of magnitude. Even on a daily basis there seems to be significant variation in rates of testing and this has an effect on the number of cases detected and reported.

(2) Provide data on the nature of and demographics of the new infections. Asymptomatic vs. symptomatic break down. Age group tendencies (young vs old). I sense that the 20 to 30 group is a reason for the June spike in cases.

(3) Along with reporting total cases to date include an estimate of total cured or noninfectious cases. While over 60,000 S.C. cases have been detected the number of active cases must be only a fraction of this total.

(4) Is the virus being passed on in public places or smaller gatherings? What portion is in nursing/long term care facilities? Are family and friends the source of infection or casual strangers?

(5) Case distribution by type of community. I did some examination of this and found that 50% of the S.C.'s population accounted for 75% of the cases. Also that 10 counties accounted for almost 67% of the cases. What is appropriate in Charleston is not what Aiken needs.

In 1918 over 600,000 Americans died from the Spanish flu when the country's population was just over 100 million and somehow we survived. In a more normal year – like 2017 – over 200,000 in the U.S. died from flu, pneumonia and respiratory problems and life went on. Most of the "casualties" of our current crisis are the millions who are unemployed with no return to work in sight.

Shutting down schools could be a disaster for our children. Will their lives be better for it? I doubt it. The "mask" ordinance could kill our local businesses. It seems to me to be akin to mandating that everyone wear condoms to stop the spread of STDs. Neither solves the problem. The real solution is simple: avoid exposure (or exposing others), don't touch things, sneeze/cough into your sleeve, don't touch your face, wash your hands frequently and wear a mask when appropriate.

Ed Shippey

Aiken