Bemrose’s stats are misleading

In his guest opinion last week, Bodie Bemrose misled readers with a bunch of garbled statistics contrived to support his dangerous call for immediate re-opening of all Polk County businesses.

The severity of COVID versus flu should be clear: Over 375,000 Americans are confirmed dead from COVID in the last 11 months. Less than 10,000 were confirmed dead from flu over the last full year. CDC estimates that flu actually kills 20,000 to 61,000 people annually. Based on “excess” American deaths every day in this pandemic, CDC estimates COVID is killing 21-26% more Americans than even the confirmed daily death counts.

In his “statistics” about elderly people, Bemrose seems to imply that old lives don’t matter. I disagree. Furthermore, COVID is affecting even young people much worse than flu does. Over 14,000 Americans younger than 45 are confirmed dead from COVID so far – more than the total confirmed flu deaths for all ages in the past year!

If COVID doesn’t kill you, it can compromise your immune system, cause brain damage, heart damage and other longer term effects we are only beginning to understand. Serious ongoing effects are being observed in all ages of adults.

As the pandemic surges, we have kept infections and deaths in Oregon below the national average. Our Governor and her team deserve some credit for this. Please, folks, if we can just hang in there with the restrictions until everyone has access to vaccinations, we can reopen for good sooner and with fewer casualties overall.

Lisanne Pearcy

Dallas

Flirting with disaster

Having been a real estate investor, entrepreneur and landlord myself, I can sympathize with the hardship COVID-19 measures place on Polk County businesses and Mr. Bemrose, author of last week’s Guest Opinion. However, Bodie’s comparison of COVID to flu is disinformation that incites lawlessness.

Bodie’s 99.7% “COVID survival rate” is fiction. According to John Hopkins epidemiologists, neither they nor anyone else have the data to calculate such a figure. CDC’s published Case Fatality Rates, on the other hand, range from 1.7% to 6.2% for COVID versus 0.01% to 0.02% for flu.

Furthermore, the economics of lockdowns aren’t clear. While short term impacts to businesses can be devastating, Sweden’s distinctive no-lockdown strategy has failed and they are now having to reverse course. Research from MIT on the 1918-19 Spanish Flu pandemic shows that the cities that prioritized public health over the economy recovered more quickly and had better long-term economic outcomes. Likewise, countries that took aggressive measures against COVID sooner have generally fared better. Bottom line: Businesses that reopen prematurely force us all to be in lockdown longer before we can reopen safely.

I find it morally reprehensible to ask local businesses to defy the law – risking lives in our community, huge fines and lawsuits. Bodie isn’t offering to pay for funerals, fines or other expenses incurred by taking his advice, either.

Instead of breaking the law and endangering others, those harmed by COVID restrictions should ask for and get public assistance. We’re all in this together.

Jason Brown

Dallas

Representative should resign

Short and sour: I am disgusted with Mike Nearman for opening our State Capitol to mob of seditionist rabble. Shame is too simple a description. He should immediately resign or be censured by the Legislature.

Daniel Perin

Dallas

Nearman doesn’t represent all

A video clip from Oregon State Capitol security cameras shows State Representative Mike Nearman (R-23 District) allowing violent right-wing demonstrators to enter the Capitol during the Dec. 21, 2020 special session.

It was widely known by those attending the special session that protesters were massing outside, some were armed and that their intent was to get inside. People were hurt, the Capitol was damaged and the session disrupted. Who pays for the damage? Guess!

Nearman is under criminal investigation by Oregon State Police for the incident and the House is exploring options to hold him accountable. Nearman, a die-hard supporter of President Trump, has had other brushes with controversy and seems to enjoy his unpopularity in the Legislature.

Sadly, he is popular with some of his constituents;, especially those that don’t support women’s rights, public health measures during the pandemic, common-sense gun control legislation, health care for all, and social programs that benefit less-fortunate citizens.

He claims that God guides him. I find his actions reckless, deplorable and irresponsible. Consequences, please. He does not represent me. Because of Nearman and Boquist, our area is a legislative embarrassment.

Joe Koubek

Dallas

Actions call for impeachment

It is time to impeach Mike Nearman and Donald Trump immediately. Both called for, urged, and abetted armed invasions of capitol buildings, Nearman in Salem and Trump in D. C., by mobs of self-deluded thugs posing as patriots. Real patriots support and defend national and state constitutions, follow the rule of law and eschew mob violence. Be a real patriot and get rid of Nearman and Trump. The sooner the better.

James H. Beaird-Leeper

Dallas

Elderly deaths not acceptable

Regarding the guest opinion expressed by B. Bemrose, his facts certainly support the old adage that you can use statistics to prove anything. So let’s talk numbers.

The 2017 flu season caused approximately 80,000 deaths. COVID-19 has already caused 364,000. It may be 1% but it’s a lot of real people.

I’m not sure of what his numbers on the elderly deaths are meant to show, but the implication seems to be if you’re younger you will likely live. OK, fair enough. But the other implication is if they are old, let them die. As one of the old people, I am not OK with that. With only my underlying conditions, I can still expect a few more years of life and I want them.

Wayne Rickert

Dallas

Guest column urges law breaking

The guest editorial in the Jan. 6 issue of the I-O is both outrageous and likely criminal. The writer urged business owners to violate state law by opening businesses that have been closed due to COVID-19 restrictions developed by the Oregon Health Authority.

Despite one’s politics, we all know the basic practices necessary to lead us out of this pandemic -- masks, social distancing, sanitation, etc. Some businesses do not lend themselves to the ability to conform with these basic procedures. It’s not politics; it’s common sense. Research will show that the 1918 flu did not elicit grandstanding and anti-government calls like those urged by the editorial writer.

It seems to me like this rhetoric, also supported by the Polk County Commissioners, is not only morally wrong but probably criminal.

Please stop the insanity. Wednesday’s insurrection in our nation’s capital shows where this sort of talk can lead.

Please follow the guidance of the scientists and our elected officials, and we can get through this without losing the lives of more of our fellow citizens than necessary.

Michael Cairns

Independence

Christmas Cheer was a success

The pandemic brought many challenges to this year’s event not just the fact that the need was greater but in addition our inability to conduct canned food drives. Christmas Cheer Board of Directors made decisions to keep our volunteers and the families who receive food safe with a few adjustments this year.

We joined forces with Dallas Adopt a Family and together at Polk Co Fairgrounds we served those in need from that venue. Much thanks to Tina Anderson Polk Co Fair Manager, staff and all the County Commissioners; they were very gracious hosts.

With all the changes in of 2020 one thing remains very consistent is the generosity of our community who stepped to make sure families who needed help were provided for. Thanks to all the new and our always faithful donors for making our plan come together.

Join us in our hope that we can return to a new normal for 2021 - we miss our volunteers and the reunion of family and friends that show up Christmas Eve morning to sort, shop, pack and deliver to local families.

For now accept our heartfelt gratitude for helping us to make a brighter Christmas for our families in need.

Warren Lamb and the Christmas Cheer Board of Directors

Dallas

Wilson demonstrated true service

In the last 20-some years serving on the Dallas Planning Commission it has been an honor and privilege to serve with Bob Wilson.

I have always counted on Bob to ask the tough questions to insure that the process was fair to all parties involved. Sometimes we had folks that felt that the Commission might have been a little heavy handed but Bob always made sure that the people had a chance to speak their mind and his response was kind and fair.

Bob was also my historic file. I swear he had remembered every meeting and all the details which will be surly missed in the future.

Bob was one heck of a mentor and I hope I lived up to his legacy of service to Dallas.

You will be missed tremendously but I assure you that you will not be forgotten. I was blessed to have shared the time with you and the example of true community serve.

Chuck Lerwick

Dallas

Nearman’s actions were dangerous

If it is true that State Rep. Mike Nearman deliberately let the rioters into the Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, he has defamed himself, his office, the Legislature, his district and the entire state of Oregon.

It is unthinkable that any citizen, much less a legislator, would do such a dangerous and despicable thing. It was shameful and treasonable act, and make him part of the destructive mob.

John Schoon

Rickreall

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