To the editor: Given that our mental health services are being overwhelmed due to anxiety induced by the pandemic and its alarmist coverage, some perspective about the statistics behind the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's paper about the Delta variant is welcome.
The Massachusetts outbreak in 469 people included 74% vaccinated (347). Many were symptomatic with classic cold symptoms, and only four infected people (less than 1%) needed hospitalization. In other words, the vaccines did their job. The word "dire" is perhaps hyperbole.
Parents are now again needlessly alarmed as their kids under 12 are unvaccinated and the school year looms. The Delta variant is as transmissible as chickenpox. I remember when parents sent their kids next door to catch the chickenpox from an infected neighbor, as it was not deadly in childhood, much like COVID-19 posing about as much risk to kids as the flu.
Finally, the virus is waning in Britain, with 92% of the population showing antibodies in their blood after vaccination and from Delta's widely transmissible infection.
It is critical to get as many people as possible vaccinated. It is also critical to preserve credibility in our data and promote sanity. A 30% increase in overdose deaths in 2020 is just the tip of the mental health crisis we are seeing.
Michael Brant-Zawadzki, M.D., Newport Beach
To the editor: I'd like to say to all the anti-vaxxers out there that I get it.
The COVID-19 vaccines in circulation have not yet received full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. You're young and strong, and the vast majority of young people who get the disease do not have a hard time with it. And, yes, it's your body, and you decide what goes into it.
But consider this: My wife suffered from hepatitis C for more than 10 years before she finally received a liver transplant. For the rest of her life, she must take a drug that totally "nukes" her immune system so it does not attack her transplanted liver.
As a result, what might be a minor COVID-19 infection for most other people would doom her to a horrible death.
After 43 years, I've grown to really like my wife, so I'm respectfully asking others to take the jab or, at the very least, wear a mask in social settings.
Joe Beatty, Whittier
To the editor: As a former school nurse, I am appalled by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis barring mask mandates at schools, falsely claiming that there is no evidence that masks prevent outbreaks.
He says his order will make it easier for students to focus on learning, and "I want to see my kids smiling. I want them having fun."
I can assure the governor of two things. Children wearing masks in school are perfectly capable of focusing on learning, and more importantly, children on ventilators in a pediatric intensive care unit due to COVID-19 pneumonia are not smiling or having fun. Neither are their distraught parents.
Jacqueline Ficht, South Pasadena
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.