Thursday, April 25, 2024

Regan is right — only to a point

| December 11, 2020 1:00 AM

Kudos to Brent Regan! (Dec. 5 My Turn). We should indeed “rely on science, not politics.” This whole pandemic mess has become way too politically charged.

He is also correct that we social distance, and wear masks to prevent transmission. This is where it gets tricky. Try to follow me here, Brent.

Mr. Regan states that these measures haven’t worked. What he fails to mention is that a large number of Idahoans haven’t been following these measures. He commits a falsehood of omission. That’s why Idaho has a higher rate of infection than our neighbor Washington. They follow the rules.

It is true that the primary way that the virus is spread is aerosolization, for example sneezing, coughing, talking, singing in church, throat clearing, belching. The virus attaches to these droplets, and is expelled out by these actions. We wear masks to protect others from our coughs, burps, etc.

The reason we social distance is to avoid being in proximity to someone who may breathe out these droplets, spray, what have you, or to protect other people from our spew.

I also agree with Mr. Regan about HOCI. According to National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Medicine, National Institute of Health, it is a very effective means of decontaminating surfaces, but here’s another tricky part. The virus lurks inside our bodies. HOCI works great on surfaces like your toilet seat, or your countertop, but it won’t stop that virus from being blasted out into the air when you sneeze.

So, here’s the deal. The most effective way to prevent the spread of this awful virus is to wear a mask and social distance. Mr. Regan may have 40-plus years of engineering experience, but he is not a health care provider. I am.

For the sake of nurses like me who have to take care of you all, mask wearers or not, please please please wear a mask. Think of the ICU nurses at the hospital who are caring for the sick and dying every day. We can’t take care of you all if we are outnumbered, understaffed, burned out.

It’s not pretty right now in our state because we haven’t been following the rules. Please, be kind, considerate, and caring for your neighbor, and health care providers. Wear a mask. It’s just not that difficult.

Loree Peery, RN, is a Spirit Lake resident.