letters to the editor

Dear Editor,

The media today is dead. Mark Levin wrote a book almost 20 months ago called Unfreedom of the Press. In it, he discusses pretty much what your article covered and then some. It’s a scathing rebuke on what once was a legitimate profession. I hear President George H. Bush’s press secretary, Ari Fleischer, is looking to write a book on the topic as well.

I had a rabbi in HANC in ninth grade — you may know him: Yitzchok Frankel of the Agudah of the Five Towns. He was the rabbi of the BACH shul in Long Beach back in 1995–96. He had a few sayings. One was: “You made that up” when someone would say something completely outrageous. Well, I bring that up because every time I see Joe Biden at a podium with “Office of the President-elect” behind him and on the microphone, I’m reminded of the phrase “You made that up.”

Just wanted to share that with you.

Enjoy Florida. It’s cold back here in Woodmere.

Daniel Grossman

Truth Is Essential

Dear Editor,

During a crisis or when a particular policy is overwhelmingly popular, scrutiny over the issue is lessened or completely skipped over. Months after the George Floyd incident, for example, it was reported that the medical examiner wrote in the autopsy report that at the time of Mr. Floyd’s death, he had fentanyl in his system. The ME did not say if this was the cause of his death, but what it showed was that not everything is so clear-cut. [Editor’s note: The county medical examiner classified Floyd’s death as a homicide, with his heart stopping while he was restrained by police and his neck compressed. A summary report listed fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use under “other significant conditions” but not under “cause of death.”]

This same logic should also apply to the way we count COVID-19 deaths. No one disagrees that the COVID deaths in the past nine months have been tragic, but it does not mean that accountability and transparency get to disappear. We live in a time when achieving the exact data is not always possible, but the question of who died with COVID vs. by COVID is an important distinction. COVID is a deadly disease, but do we not trust people to know how deadly it is?

In August, the CDC released data showing that 94% of COVID deaths involved other complications, while only 6% were solely COVID related. That does not mean that COVID should be dealt with any less seriously, but people have the right to know the truth. Dr. George Lundberg writing for Medscape compared the counts of deaths from influenza and  COVID. Dr. Lundberg is skeptical of the death count given for influenza after observing some autopsies. He also stressed the difficulty to ascertain the exact reason for death in many cases, but he concluded that there is so much more to learn about COVID. If politicians and public health experts want the public to trust them, they have to be completely transparent. When people have legitimate questions about a serious issue, the complete truth should be provided!

Sincerely,

Donny Simcha Guttman

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