Letters to the Editor, March 20

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

People’s choice?

As you know, every few years we, the people of Marco Island, elect fellow residents to be city councilors. Those councilors manage the needs of our city for the duration of their terms.

However, from time to time, questions come up that should, I believe, be decided by Marco voters and not by seven city councilors. One such issue is the question of whether or not recreational marijuana should be available and sold on Marco if and when Florida someday legalizes that currently illegal drug. Bear in mind, please, that my subject here is recreational marijuana and not medical marijuana. Medical marijuana is legal, available and very helpful to patients with their doctor’s prescription.

In my opinion, the best interests of Marco Island residents aren’t served by adding the sale of recreational marijuana to the already local, dizzying. availability of alcohol. Of course, others might disagree with my opinion. I strongly believe this question should be decided by the voters of Marco and not by just seven city councilors.

Happily, we could have the question placed on the August ballot this year for your vote if sufficient voter-petitions are signed and submitted with that request. If you, as a registered Marco voter, also feel that you should have a say, either way, in this matter, please do sign and submit a petition. As a Marco resident, I’m concerned enough to provide a printable petition if you simply ask me for it at Rskipperna2@gmail.com.

Russ Colombo, Marco Island

Power of prayer

Thank you for running the article in the Marco Eagle (re: The power of prayer to fight COVID-19 anxiety, page 17A).

It is reassuring to read that there is a greater being that we can go to when we are in need. Most papers would shy away from such an article.

Dolores Gruca, Marco Island

Staff, resources lacking vs. pandemic?

Local and state health departments have lost nearly a quarter of their workforce since the 2008 recession. Even if we had millions of coronavirus tests available, we have no public health system able to administer them for free, and 80 million Americans are uninsured or underinsured. And without wide-scale testing, our epidemiologists are flying blind.

The Fed can quarantine a financial crisis by closing banks. But it’s hard to quarantine workplaces when millions of American workers have no paid sick leave. Closing schools makes sense, but it’s tough on parents who can’t afford child care and on kids whose only square meal a day comes from a school lunch.

So, coronavirus transmission continues unimpeded and we face, realistically, the prospect of many thousands of acutely ill people. Our financial institutions are required to maintain reserve capacity in case the markets are stressed. But our mostly for-profit health industry has no excess capacity requirements, whether for ICU beds or ventilators.

As a medical/science writer with 50 years’ experience in public health, including 30 at the World Health Organization, I believe the richest nation in the world needs to rethink our lopsided priorities. In normal times, the lack of a robust public health and safety system harms millions of Americans. In times of pandemic, it endangers all of us.

Suzanne Cherney, East Naples

COVID-19 comparisons to flu 'frustrating'

As a health care worker, I find the current dissemination of the same incorrect information, comparing COVID-19 to the flu, very frustrating. The CDC quotes flu symptoms in 36 million to 51 million since Oct. 1, despite over 170 million vaccinations, and 22,000 to 55,000 have died. There is no vaccination against COVID-19, nor will there be one for many months.

Tests for the flu are readily available, with fast results, COVID-19 tests are extremely rare and hard to get. Fewer than 1,000 tests have been done in Florida (population 21 million), 1,000 test kits are available, and 1,500 kits are expected next week.

The first COVID-19 case was reported Jan. 21 in Washington state. It is now in 49 states.

Postmortem flu tests are not conducted on people who die from flu-like symptoms, so we really don’t know whether COVID-19 already has killed many more. If you are treated for the flu and it comes back negative, you are not added to the COVID-19 number but simply added to the millions with “flu-like” symptoms.

Mary Rogan, Naples

More:Letters to the Editor, March 13