Letter to the Editor

On the Covid-19 Disease

Dear Editor,

The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) poses a serious public health risk.  It requires a serious response by government at all levels – federal, state and local, health care providers, and the public.  It is not a time for political posturing, nor ignorance.

I am writing in response to a Letter to the Editor in the March 19 Winthrop Sun Transcript from Paul Caruccio entitled, “Coronavirus Proves Necessity for Border Wall”.

Mr. Caruccio implies that closing our borders to immigrants would keep us safe from this pandemic and possible ones in the future.  He suggests that the problem is coming from Mexico and Central America.

First of all, coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals.  Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as previously with MERS and SARS, and now with this new virus.  All three of these viruses have their origins in bats.

Second, the epicenter of the outbreak was in China.  Other countries with the most serious community spread are Iran, continental European nations such as France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, the United Kingdom ( England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and Ireland, and the Asian nations of  Malaysia and South Korea.

There has been no serious threat from Mexico or Central America at this time.

Third, here is Massachusetts, of the 328 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of March 19, 97, or 30%, are the result of a Biogen company management meeting held at a Boston Hotel.  In addition, 46 cases are the result of local transmission, and 34 are travel related.   

Rather than building a border wall right now between the United States and Mexico, we should be building up our capacity of hospital beds to handle the present crisis.

This is not a time for disinformation.  Residents who want accurate information should turn to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the federal level, Massachusetts state government, and the Town of Winthrop’s website.  Information on the global situation can be found at the World Health Organization.

Fear and false information will not help us get through this pandemic.  It diverts our attention and resources from finding solutions to adequate testing, sufficient treatment, and an effective vaccine.

Rhetoric from Mr. Caruccio is part of the problem, not the solution.

Bill Schmidt


Winthrop Board of Health

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