Letters to the Editor — April 15, 2020

Roundabout isn’t solution for intersection

An April 8 Sequim Gazette article states that “Clallam County has secured a $490,000 federal grant to build a roundabout at the collision prone intersection of Sequim Dungeness Way and Woodcock Road.”

As a frequent user of Woodcock Road and the referenced intersection, I disagree with the proposed costly solution to the alleged problem. A major reason there are collisions is because there are no stop signs for traffic traveling north and south. Another reason is because the trees on the northwest corner of that intersection block the view of cars coming from the north heading south.

The article quotes Commissioner Mark Ozias: “My understanding is that this is generally the second most highly trafficked, and the second-highest incident rate, of any intersection in the county.” The words “My understanding” and “generally” create doubt. But perhaps Mark was misquoted.

Further in the article, it states: “Last year, commissioners decided to build a roundabout … rather than install stoplights, which would’ve cost an estimated $4 million.” If that number is anywhere close to being correct, I suggest four-way stop signs such as are used at the intersection of Woodcock Road and Cays Road should have been given serious consideration.

In my opinion, this article is confirmation that hard-earned dollars of the taxpayers are spent without appropriate oversight.

Furthermore, a grant is not “free” money. Those dollars are tax dollars.

Frank Willett

Sequim

Let’s stay on the same page

Regarding April 8 letter entitled “Worth the disruption?” (Sequim Gazette, page A-10):

First of all, flu has vaccines to combat the spread and society has quantities in volume to distribute to everyone.

Second, it is a known illness with known impact and built-in capacity in the medical system.

Third, and biggest I think, is that we can test anyone anytime for it so we know who has it.

Fourth, COVID-19 is highly contagious, more so than flu.

Fifth, death rate from flu is about 0.2 percent, whereas COVID is about 2 percent; that makes COVID ten times more deadly. The letter writer was quoting annual numbers for flu versus current numbers early in the COVID outbreak.

Current estimates for annual death in U.S. from COVID-19 range from 31,000 to 120,000 (down from 200,000 and even 400,000) for 2020, depending on how we respond.

And last, everyone carrying flu shows symptoms to know when they are contagious and stay home away from others; up to 25 percent of COVID cases are asymptomatic. We don’t know much about this illness.

We can’t test it in quantity, we can’t prevent or cure it, and we don’t know who is carrying it. Of course we have to shut things down. It is our only option to keep it from completely overwhelming medical facilities.

We need everyone on the same page with this thing.

Vern Klimecky

Sequim

Time to ‘remain steadfast’

While it is true the coronavirus originated in China, the Spanish flu did not originate in Spain.

King Alfonso XIII or Spain contracted the flu , giving it the misnomer.

Unlike seasonal influenza, the coronavirus is a global pandemic more insidious than influenza, causing pulmonary edema, pneumonia and death, especially in elderly patients with preconditions.

During the Eisenhower administration, the Asian flu killed thousands. Unlike today, social distancing was not implemented, leading to more deaths.

Although patients are on the decline, it is because we have learned from the past that social distancing saves lives.

Still, like the Spanish flu, a second wave deadlier than the first is possible if we do not remain steadfast.

Roger B. Huntman

Sequim

Threat is real

No, President Barrack Obama did not ignore health, safety or security threats to American citizens. Trump and Reagan have this much in common. They both ignored these threats. It wasn’t until Reagan’s seventh year that he even acknowledged HIV/AIDS.

Ignore threats, ignore science and here we are looking at potentially 100,000 deaths of Americans (if things go well with social distancing).

When voters choose “leaders” who are toxic, incompetent or corrupt or a combination of each, there are unintended but predictable consequences. There are no do-overs here. Now is the time to take this to heart.

Roger Briggs

Sequim

MAT effectiveness backed by research

Sequim Mayor William Armacost and city councilor Troy Tenneson have both indicated publicly that they oppose the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) clinic because, as Mayor Armacost puts it, “It’s trading one addictive product for another.”

This opinion is contradicted by overwhelming scientific evidence. In 2019, the National Academies Press published an extensive report titled “Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Save Lives”:

Two key points in the report are:

1) Patients receiving MAT treatment “are less likely to die from overdose or other causes related to their addiction,” and “have higher treatment retention rates, better long-term treatment outcomes, and improved social functioning; they are also less likely to inject drugs or transmit infectious diseases.”

2) “High levels of misunderstanding and stigma toward drug addiction, individuals with OUD (opioid use disorder), and the medications to treat it” is a barrier to effective use of MAT.

Mr. Armacost and Mr. Tenneson are clearly entitled to their opinions, and are perfectly free to not utilize medication assisted treatment in their own lives. However, their misunderstanding of science has no place in public policy and decision-making.

The use of MAT is supported by many highly respected organizations in the medical field, including the FDA, the World Health Organization, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Surgeon General and the American Medical Association.

These organizations have based their endorsements on scientific evidence, not on personal biases and misunderstandings. Our elected officials should not be harming our community by dispensing bad medical advice and turning people away from effective treatment.

Mark White

Sequim

Kudos to the community

The Clallam County Department of Emergency Management would like to thank all the businesses posting unsolicited words of encouragement and messages of hope during these trying times. Thank you.

We would like to thank the numerous citizens practicing good social distancing when it is necessary to be in public, and those who are encouraging others to stay home when it is not. Thank you.

We would like to thank the business that emptied their supply rooms of personal protective equipment so we could help protect the doctors, nurses, and first responders who are on the frontlines battling the Covid-19 virus. Thank you.

We would like to thank the many individuals who have formed sewing circles to help us provide masks and gowns to at-risk health care workers and the vulnerable patients that they are attending. Thank you and keep up the good work. It is really making a difference.

Although we have to distance ourselves from one another, it is clear that we are coming together in spirit as a community.

Stay positive, stay safe, stay strong.

Clallam County Department of Emergency Management team

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