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The difference is vast

I have no doubt that a half-dozen letter writers will gleefully point out Mark Bernthal's lack of critical thinking in his letter to the editor. Specifically, he failed to do the simple math that demonstrates the vast difference between the H1N1 outbreak and the current outbreak of covid-19.

Taking his figures for H1N1 at face value, the mortality rate was about 0.02 percent. Information regarding the covid-19 death rate suggests the death rate could be approximately 2 percent. Assuming 50 million people are infected in the current epidemic, as was the case with H1N1, a 2 percent death rate will result in the loss of a million American lives.

This raises the question of how many people have to be at risk of death before drastic action, which has already damaged the economy and will surely damage it more, should be taken. I am willing to stipulate the number is greater than the 10,000 we lost to H1N1, but surely a million souls are worth damaging the economy to save.

There is also a certain irony here. If we are successful in stemming the horrible human toll covid-19 could cause, Mr. Bernthal's conclusion that we are taking this too seriously may allow him to claim he was right all along, blissfully obtuse to humanity's near-miss.

ALLEN SEAY

Fayetteville

Denial irresponsible

It's amazing that so many folks are ignoring or denying the seriousness of the coronavirus, and it is a perfect example of "If you don't know the past, you can't understand the present." During World War I, the "Spanish flu" developed and became a worldwide pandemic, killing an estimated 50 million around the globe. The final total of flu deaths in the United States was about 675,000. Deaths of GIs during the war was about 53,000 combat deaths and 63,000 deaths from Spanish flu.

In 1918, during the epidemic, the health commissioner in Philadelphia ignored advice to cancel a Liberty Loan parade, and over 200,000 people attended the event. Within four weeks 47,000 Philadelphians contracted the flu and over 12,000 died from it. My mother-in-law, Rita Ferrell, who lived in Fayetteville to age 98, was a young girl living in Philadelphia at the time, and she told us that following the parade, "nearly every family in the neighborhood lost somebody. My brother Edward died from flu at home."

Just like the Spanish flu during World War I, the experts tell us the coronavirus is real, and it's a killer with no cure in the near future. Fortunately, doctors and social scientists now know a lot more about how to lessen the impact of this virus and treat it. That's why social distancing and isolation are critical now, and denial is irresponsible.

DAVID WILSON

Fayetteville

What about streets?

I heard on the wireless what our mayor wants to spend his 1 cent tax on. All the things he listed were fine and sure to appease any cronies he may have that are on the receiving end of any of the allocated funds. But missing in the mix was anything about road improvement.

He says that the money was for improving "the quality of life." Well, mister and missus citizen, I can think of nothing more that would improve every resident's quality of life, and give them a better demeanor to boot, than better roads.

Then he can go for the rings on his merry-go-round.

WALTER TUCKER

Little Rock

A plan for prosperity

I have a plan for continued prosperity and to make America great again. First, let's hand out a tax break which especially profits the wealthy. That, of course, will raise the national debt. However, my plan will work by skimping on some of our bloated government agencies, like maybe the CDC and their ability to prevent and fight pandemics. I mean, really, who needs a lot of extra ventilators and masks lying around?

What? You say someone else has tried this plan? Oh, so, how's that working?

JOHN CHMIELEWSKI

North Little Rock

Excessive spending

Mayor Scott has spent more than $300,000 on his personal security detail since April. That seems excessive to me. I am interested to know what past mayors and city employees spent on their security. How many bodyguards does he need? Does having this excessive security detail just feed his ego?

I am also more than peeved that he has proposed a sales-tax increase. A sales tax is the most regressive tax there is. It certainly hits the poor harder than the rest of society. Instead of a general sales tax, how about increasing the tax on money spent at restaurants and bars? I doubt if the poor frequent nice restaurants. I'm sure there are other ways to fill his coffers than to burden the poor.

Also, the sneaky way he is putting it on the ballot is annoying. If he feels it is justified, then he should allow the citizens of Little Rock to vote in November. I hope the city board of directors will rein him in a bit.

BONNIE HOLMES

Little Rock

Editorial on 03/23/2020

Print Headline: Letters

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